Salvador Dali is one of the most extraordinary personalities of the 20th century. His way of life was a manifestation of his uniqueness and his art maintains his extravagant ideas.
The famous painter was born in Figueres (Spain) on May, 11, 1904 (McNeese&Dali 14). His father was a respected lawyer and nobody could assume that Salvador would become a painter. However, Dali started painting quite early and in 1925 he already had his first exhibition (Felix Fanes 1). Dali’s first works were impressionistic. In fact, his style developed from Impressionism to Pointillism and Cubism. Thus, one of his earliest works is Smiling Venus (1922).
The medium of this picture is temper on cardboard (51.50 x 50.30 cm). The picture is a depiction of a girl lying on the beach. Dali used the technique of Pointillism to depict the landscape in the background. This is an impressionistic work which reveals the “ironic version of the feminine archetypes of Noucetisme” (Felix Fanes 7).
Another early work, Self-Portrait with “L’Humanite” is dated 1923 and is created in the cubistic style. Medium is mixed (oil, gouache and collage) on cardboard. The picture depicts a man without mouth in a blue shirt. In the background there is a mirror with the man’s reflection, pictures, a newspaper and papers.
Of course, one of the most famous paintings by Dali is The Persistence of Memory (1931). Medium is oil on canvas (24.1 x 33 cm). In fact, this was the first picture by Dali which impressed me the most. Now it is hard for me to distinguish the best of his work, but sometime ago I would say that it was The Persistence of Memory.
It is a surrealistic work revealing the subjectivity of time and suggests that “time can vary greatly in human perception” (Clemens and Dalrymple 62). The picture depicts several melting watches, in the background cliffs and the quite water are depicted. In the centre of the painting the misshapen head is depicted.
Such unusual surrealistic images make the painting (and the entire Dali’s art) unique and recognizable. He uses lots of symbols to reveal his ideas of subjectivity of the reality. Some of his mostly used symbols are watches (which symbolize time and life) and egg (symbolizing life and creation). Of course, these symbols occur in many works. However, it is impossible to omit one more image abundantly depicted in Dali’s works, i.e. his muse – his Gala.
This Russian woman has entered his life to stay in his art and his heart forever. Dali depicts Gala in various images, as a muse, as a goddess, as a mortal woman, as a mythological character. However, no matter what exactly is depicted on the painting, the most important in Dali’s works is that they make the viewer think of life and many other eternal issues trying to self-reflect. Bright colors and surrealistic images create the whole world of Dali’s visions, dreams and manifestos.
Salvador Dali was a talented and fruitful person, he created thousands of paintings, sculptures and other works of art. It can be quite difficult to distinguish his preferred medium since Dali’s middle name could be Diversity. Of course, he liked canvas and oil, but the medium become insignificant when his works extend the borders of reality of those who have ever seen them.
Clemens, J., Dalrymple, S. Time Mastery: How Temporal Intelligence Will Make You a Stronger, More Effective Leader. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2005.
Fanes, F. Salvador Dali: The Construction of the Image, 1925-1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
McNeese, T., Dali, S. Salvador Dali. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2006.