Salvador Dali was born in Figueras, Spain in 1904 and would later spend most of his life in France and the US. An eccentric, Dali wrote in his diary two years before entering art school in the early 1920s "perhaps I'll be despised and misunderstood ... but I'll be a great genius".
He started studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Madrid and was influenced by metaphysical painters de Chirico and Carra. Equally admiring the meticulous realism of the Pre-Raphaelites and French 19th century painters, he began to blend conceptual styles and techniques. In 1927, Dali exhibited in Madrid and Barcelona, earning a reputation for being one of the most promising younger painters. A visit to Paris in 1928 brought him into contact with Picasso and the Surrealists including Miro, Masson, Ernst, Tanguy and Andre Breton. Shortly thereafter he became a leading figure of the Surrealist movement. One of Dali’s most influential meetings was with Sigmund Freud. Freud helped him discover the subconscious. This influence can be found in Dali’s paintings of limp pocket-watches and religious works. His pocket watches may also reflect his interest in science, especially Einstein’s theory of relativity where time and space were no longer fixed notions.
After passing through phases of Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting, Dali’s Surrealism expressed the unconscious process of thought, dream and associated realities. He was an eccentric with a predisposition towards narcissistic exhibitionism, claiming that his creative energies were derived from it. This is evident by Dali’s range of imagery from wonderful pictures to nightmarish visions. Always provocative, Dali filled his work with references to sex and violence.
Dali’s work can be found in galleries around the world. His art is still very popular today.
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