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Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist, surrealist icon, and printmaker who is influential for his explorations of subconscious imagery. He is perhaps best known for his painting of melting clocks, The Persistence of Memory.
See the fact file below for more information on the Salvador Dali or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Salvador Dali worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Dali was born as Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domenech.
- Dali was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain, which is 16 miles from the French border in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains.
- Dali’s father, Salvador Dali Cusi, was a middle-class lawyer and notary.
- He had a strict disciplinary approach to raising children.
- On the other hand, his mother, Felipa Domenech Ferres, often indulged young Dali in his art and early eccentricities.
- The young Dali was a precocious and intelligent child, prone to fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates.
- His father wouldn’t tolerate Dali’s outbursts or eccentricities and punished him seriously.
- Dali had an older brother, also named Salvador, who died of gastroenteritis nine months before Dali was born.
- Dali was once told that he was his brother’s reincarnation.
- In the metaphysical prose he usually used, Dali recalled, “[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.” He “was probably a first version of myself, but conceived too much in the absolute.”
- Dali had a sister named Ana Maria who would often serve as a model for his paintings.
- In his early years, Dali produced extremely sophisticated drawings, and both of his parents actively supported his artistic talent.
- It was at this point that his parents made an art studio for him before he entered art school.
- Dalí’s parents enrolled him in drawing school at the Colegio de Hermanos Maristas and the Instituto in Figueres, Spain, in 1916.
He was not a very serious student, though. Dali had been always referred to as the class eccentric, wearing odd clothing and long hair.
- After that first year at art school, he discovered modern painting in Cadaques while vacationing with his family, where he also met Ramon Pichot, a local artist who frequently visited Paris.
- The next year, his father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in the family home.
- By 1919, Dali had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre of Figueres.
- In 1921, Dali’s mother, Felipa, died.
- Later, Dali’s father married his deceased wife’s sister, Caterina.
- Though he respected his aunt, Dali did not grow any closer to his father.
- Their relationship would struggle through many different issues throughout their lives until the death of Dali’s father.
BECOMING AN ARTIST
- In 1922, Dali enrolled at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid.
- He stayed at the school’s student residence, in which he brought his eccentricity to the next level by growing out his hair and sideburns and dressing in the style of English Aesthetes of the late 19th century.
- At that time, he was influenced by several different artistic styles, such as Metaphysics and Cubism.
- In 1923, Dali was suspended from the academy for scrutinizing his teachers and allegedly originating a riot among students.
- That same year, he was arrested and briefly imprisoned in Gerona for allegedly aiding the Separatist movement.
- In 1926, he returned to the academy but was totally expelled shortly before his final exams for declaring that no member of the faculty was competent enough to examine him.
- When in class, Salvidor Dali explored various arts, such as classic art, Cubism, and Dadaism. He also studied alternative avant-garde painters like Raphael, Bronzino, and Diego Velazquez (from whom he adopted his signature curled mustache).
- Later, Salvador Dali visited Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso, whom he revered. Picasso had already heard favorable reports regarding Dali from Joan Miro, a fellow Catalan who introduced him to several surrealist friends.
- As he developed his own vogue over the subsequent few years, Dali created a variety of works influenced by Pablo Picasso and Miro.
- Eventually, Dali became one of the preeminent artists of the Surrealist movement.
- Surrealism started as a cultural movement.
- It was initiated by a French poet named Andre Breton in 1924.
- The word “surrealism” is defined as “above realism”.
- Surrealist people believed that the subconscious mind, just like dreams and random thoughts, held the secret to the truth.
- Their movement had an influence on film, poetry, music, and art.
- The paintings of surrealists are usually a mixture of strange objects and perfectly normal-looking objects that are out of place.
- Their paintings can be shocking, interesting, beautiful, or just plain weird.
THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY
- Dali painted The Persistence of Memory in 1931.
- It became his most well-known painting and perhaps the most well-known painting of the Surrealist movement.
- The view is a normal looking desert landscape that is covered with melting clocks.
- The painting is sometimes called Soft Watches.
- Dali’s art started to gain international fame.
- He married his longtime love, Gala, who became his business manager, and they moved to the United States in 1940.
- The Spanish Civil War took place in the late 1930s, and then World War II began in the early 1940s.
- Dali painted pictures portraying the horrors of war.
- When the war ended, Dali began to paint about religion.
- He had grown up in a Catholic family.
- Christ of St. John of the Cross, which he painted in 1951, was one of his most famous paintings during this time.
- In the painting, the cross floats high in the sky. When you look down from an extreme angle, you’ll see a lake with a boat and some fishermen.
- In 1980, at the age of 76, Dali’s health took a catastrophic turn.
- His right hand shivered terribly, displaying Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
- His near-senile wife allegedly had been dosing him with a serious cocktail of unprescribed medicine that destroyed his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic capacity.
- His wife, Gala, died at the age of 87 on June 10, 1982.
- When Gala died, Dali lost most of his will to live.
- On January 23, 1989, at the age of 84, Dali died of heart failure at Figueres while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played.
- Salvador Dali is the most prominent of the surrealist artists.
- His capacity to shock and entertain made his paintings famous to many people.
- Many modern artists have been motivated by Dali’s work.
Salvador Dali Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Salvador Dali across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Salvador Dali worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Salvador Dali WHO was a Spanish artist, surrealist icon, and printmaker who is influential for his explorations of subconscious imagery. He is perhaps best known for his painting of melting clocks, The Persistence of Memory.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Salvador Dali Facts
- Dali Who?
- Test Yourself
- Artistic Styles
- Road to Surrealism
- My Masterpiece
- Letter to Dali
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