Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904. He was a leader in the new movement of art in the early 20th century called Surrealism. In 1921 Dali studied at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. Here he was able to associate and learn from such Spanish modernists as Federico Garcia Lorca, and Luis Bundel. He also was influenced by Italian futurists and the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. In his early works, however, Dali gave credit to his own Catalan sense of fantasy and his megalomania as being his true motivating forces.
Dali left the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in 1926, and move to Paris where he frequented the Cafe Cyrano, which was the “headquarters” of the Parisian surrealists. In 1929 Cafe Cyrano featured an exhibit of Dali’s own surrealist paintings. Dali was also fascinated with the writings of psychologist Sigmund Freud. He was so moved by Freud’s theory that he subsequently vowed to his life’s ambition to “systemize confusion”. Dali is best known for his surrealist works. Surrealism is an art style in which imagery is based on fantasy and the world of dreams. It is thought have grown out of the French literary movement in the 1920’s and has its roots in Dadaism. These painters developed a dreamlike, or hallucinatory, imagery that was all the more startling for its highly realistic rendering. Some of Dali’s better known paintings are: “Persistence Of Memory” also know popularly as “Soft Watches” (1931), and “The Sacrament Of The Last Supper” (1955). These Paintings have become part of the definitive record of 20th Century art. Dali used many mediums to illustrate his inspirations.
His most popular of course are his paintings, but he also used such media as jewelry, advertisements, beer-bottle designs, ballet sets, and costumes. Dali also experimented his talents in film as well. In 1928 he and childhood mentor Luis Bundel produced the famous surrealist film “Un Chein Andalou” (An Andalusian Dog). He and Bundel teamed up once again in 1931 for “L’Age d’or” (The Age Of Gold). Dali was easily recognized all over the world. He was known for eccentric yet stylish apparel always accompanied by a flowing cape, and a handlebar mustache, and popping eyes. Salvador Dali led a long life in which he influenced people everywhere he went. In 1989 Dali died at age 86, a tremendous loss for the art community.