Dali Salvador Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2317 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

¶ … Salvador Dali [...] artist's life and work, and his influence in the art world. Salvador Dali was one of the most important artists in the 20th century. His work was highly influenced by the Surrealist and Dada movements, and his spectacular appearance, with a large waxed moustache and big eyes helped him become even more memorable to the world. Dali passed away in 1989, but his work continues to be influential today, and many people around the world still collect it. His theories on art and science changed the way many people viewed art and artistic pursuit, and his work continues today in the Foundation he created in Spain before he died.

Salvador Dali was born in Figueres, Spain, located in the Catalonia district, on May 11, 1904. He had a younger sister, and his father, also called Salvador, was a notary. He attended a private school operated by the Brothers of the Marist Order in his hometown, and was an average student. In 1916, on vacation, he viewed his first modern paintings, and remembered the experience, because he began to study drawing with a teacher in Figueres after he returned home. By 1918, he enjoyed two small exhibitions of his work in his hometown, and began to explore other modern painting techniques such as impressionism and pointillism. During this time, Dali also dabbled in writing. He published an article in a college magazine and wrote poetry. This indicates how multi-faceted the artist was. This would show up later in his career when he continued to experiment with many different art forms, and even tried his hand at filmmaking. He also began to publish an unconventional newspaper for his fans later in his life.

By 1921, Dali was studying art at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. Throughout his life, Dali was a controversial and commanding figure, and this seems to have been the case even when he was young. In 1923, he was suspended from the Academy of Fine Arts for criticizing his lectures and "inciting a student rebellion against school authorities" (Editors). In 1924, he was jailed for "subversion," and returned to the Academy in 1925, but was expelled again in 1926 for refusing to take his final exams because he "knew more than the professors quizzing him" (Editors). Throughout this time, Dali continued painting. He visited Paris for the first time in 1926, and met Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, two famous modernistic painters who would continue to follow and influence his entire career. He also had two different one-man shows in Barcelona, and worked often with Spanish poet Federico Garc'a Lorca on a variety of projects. A second visit to Paris in 1928 introduced him to the work of the Surrealists and Dadaists, whom he openly embraced, making the art is own, and creating his own branch of Surrealism, which he called the "Paranoiac Critical method." He had his first showing in America in 1928, too.

The artist continued to write for several art publications, and to collaborate on art films with filmmaker Luis Bunuel. Several of the films were extremely controversial, and one was banned. Dali's work gained recognition, and he produced his first Surrealist work in 1933, but was later expelled from the Surrealist group of artists in Paris. By 1938, his work began drifting away from Surrealism as he studied many other art forms, including Baroque and Renaissance styles. Dali moved to the United States in 1940 to escape the Nazi invasion of France, and he and his wife lived in the U.S. from then until 1948, when they could return to Spain. His work became increasingly popular in the U.S. during and after the war years. He continued to paint, but also wrote, designed theater sets and costumes, jewelry, clothing, and wrote screenplays. Prolific to the end, Dali died in 1989 of heart failure in his hometown of Figueres. He left behind a massive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works that are exhibited in museums across the world, including the Teatro Museo Dal' in Figueres, and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. His life was extremely influential in a variety of ways, and he created new and compelling art forms that merged Surrealism, Dadaism, and other forms into his own unique blend of art and social commentary.

Dali's work was always influenced by modern painting techniques. However, he especially admired the Surrealists who he met in Paris in the 1920s. One critic comments, "The Surrealists were a group of artists who sought to explore an inner reality beyond the rational world of the sense. Influenced by the psychoanalytic theory of their contemporary, Sigmund Freud, Surrealist painters often used symbols to portray bizarre, dreamlike landscapes" (Basquin 33). This symbolism was quite common in Dali's work throughout his career, and he often used this symbolism to create controversial social commentary on what was happening in the world around him. For example, in his painting "Soft Construction With Boiled Beans - Premonition of Civil War," which he completed in 1936, Dali creates a viciously raw world in the throes of burgeoning Nazism and on the brink of World War II. The work has been called Mr. Dali's greatest and most terrifying work. Journalist Joanna Shaw-Eagle writes of the painting, "[it] shows a body tearing itself apart. The body represents Spain anguishing over its dismemberment through the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). [...] Its' threatening green sky, gnarled bones, and putrefying flesh, is a ghastly tableau of death. The grimacing face contains no eyes or tongue" (Shaw-Eagle 1). The symbolism of the dark, twisted body and the threatening sky are a metaphor for the destruction the Civil War and then the Nazis will accomplish in his home country and in the world. Dali could see what was coming, and many of his paintings reflected such political themes as "Premonition" did.

In another painting, "The Persistence of Memory," Dali portrays the world he sees inside himself. Critic Basquin continues, "With his symbolism and hypnotic realism, he gives us a unique view of the psyche of a genius. This unreal nightmare world is bizarre and frightening, yet as familiar as a world we might have created in a dream"

Basquin 35). His work carried symbolism common to other Surrealist works, but as always, Dali was always studying new ways to create and display his work, and he continued improving on the Surrealist form. He was still involved with the Surrealists, but after they formally expelled him in 1934, he was always on the fringes of the movement. This led him to look at other ways to express his always vivid feelings and conceptions.

Ultimately, he created what he called the "Paranoiac Critical method." This new and startling method was a feeling, or way of perceiving truth and reality. Dali himself defined it as "irrational knowledge" based on a "delirium of interpretation." He became known as the father of Surrealism, but this new "Critical" method was entirely his own creation, and he had birthed another unique form of self-expression. One of the paintings he completed in this new method is "Slave Market with Disappearing Bust of Voltaire," created in 1940. This unusual but gripping painting shows a still life scene, framed by an old-fashioned architectural building with a bit of realistic landscape showing in the background. The painting's distinct altered reality is the "bust" of Voltaire, which disappears into a group of people standing in the "slave market." This bust continually appears and disappears, altering the reality of what the viewer sees. The Editors of his art gallery web site note, "Dali had long been experimenting with the idea of double imagery, and this work so perfectly exemplifies it that it was used by the cover of Scientific American in 1971 to illustrate the concept" (Editors). A classic example of double imagery, this painting also shows the imagination of Dali's always forward-thinking mind. Dali said of his movement, "Paranoiac-critical activity organizes and objectivizes in an exclusivist manner the limitless and unknown possibilities of the systematic association of subjective and objective 'significance' in the irrational..." (Editors). Dali's ideas were always controversial, and many people did not accept his radical ideas on art and society. However, his works continued to be popular, and he began to work with people in Hollywood, developing story ideas and illustrations for many projects that were produced and many that were not. He worked with such varied Hollywood producers as Walt Disney and Groucho Marx. He also wrote many books during his life, including an autobiography and a novel. He continued to contribute articles and essays to a variety of art publications, and even published his own newspaper for his fans. Dali's mind was part artistic and part scientific, and this shows in his theories of Nuclear Mysticism that he developed in the 1950s.

Nuclear Mysticism was another controversial theory Dali developed that strayed outside the normal parameters of society and art. His theory attempted to blend science and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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