Who is Salvador Dali?

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, shortly Salvador Dalí (born May 11, 1904 - Died 23 January 1989), Catalan surrealist painter. He is famous for the strange and striking images in his surreal works. He completed his best known work, The Determination of Memory, in 1931.

In addition to painting, Dalí was also interested in sculpture, photography and filmmaking. The short cartoon Destino, which he made with American animator Walt Disney, was nominated for the Academy Award in 2003 for "best short animated film".

Dalí, born in Catalonia, claimed to be descended from the Moors who conquered Spain in 711, and attributed his "fondness for all things fancy and garish, luxury life and eastern clothes" to his "Arab origin".

Throughout his life, Dalí has ​​attracted attention with his eccentric clothing, manners and words as much as his art, which at times has made those who appreciate his art as much as those who do not. The notoriety brought by these acts made Dalí widely known and increased the interest in his work.

Dali was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, as the second child of Salvador Dalí i Cusí and Felipa Domenech Ferres. The couple's first child, born in 1901, died of digestive inflammation exactly nine months and ten days before Dalí's birth (on August 1, 1903), and his name, Salvador, passed on to the second child. Unable to accept the young death of their first child, the Dalí couple often talked about his dead brother alongside younger Dalí, kept a picture of the first Salvador on the wall of their bedroom, and together with Dalí they regularly visited the first Salvador's tomb. This led to Dalí's confusion about his identity at a young age. Later, about his brother, whom he never knew, "we looked alike like two drops of water, but our reflections were different. He was probably the first version of me designed too absolutely." he could say.

Dalí's father was a notary public with a tough and authoritative character. His mother, on the contrary, was affectionate and understanding, and supported her son's efforts in painting. When Dalí was three years old, his sister Ana María was born. As the only son of the house, Dalí, who received constant attention from his mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and caregiver, began to display a spoiled and capricious character from an early age.

Enrolled in a private art school in 1914 with the support of her mother, Dalí opened her first exhibition at the Figueres Municipal Theater in 1919. In February 1921, he lost his beloved mother from breast cancer. About his mother's death “it was the biggest blow I have ever taken in my life. I worshiped him. I could not admit the loss of a being that I have always trusted in making my soul's inevitable flaws invisible. ” he could say. Dalí's father married his sister-in-law shortly after his wife's death.

Madrid, Paris and the USA

Moving to Madrid in 1922 and enrolling in the school there, Dalí showed cubism and dadaism influences in his early works. These new trends, originating from France and Switzerland, were not very common in Madrid at the time, and Dalí's work soon gained attention. During his years in Madrid, Dalí became close friends with filmmaker Luis Buñuel and poet Federico García Lorca, who, like him, were fond of avant-garde art. Dalí, who was temporarily suspended from school in 1923 for lack of discipline, was arrested and detained for a while for participating in anarchist demonstrations in Girona the same year. He returned to school in 1925 and opened his first solo exhibition in Barcelona. His paintings were met with interest and surprise by critics.

Dalí went to Paris in 1926 and met Pablo Picasso, whom he greatly respected. Over the next few years, the Picasso influence would dominate Dalí's work. Shortly after returning from a trip to Paris, Dalí was permanently expelled from his school and was soon drafted into the army. He finished his military service in October 1927, and in March 1928, together with art critics Luís Montanyà and Sebastià Gasch, he wrote the "Anti-Art Catalan Manifesto", which advocated modernism and futurism in art.

The avant-garde short film An Andalusian Dog, shot in 1929 with his friend Luis Buñuel, brought the duo to great fame in surrealist art circles. Dalí went to Paris for the second time in the same year, where he met with the pioneers of the surrealist movement André Breton and Paul Éluard through the painter Joan Miró. Éluard's wife Gala (whose real name was Helena Ivanovna Diakonova) attracted Dalí's attention from the moment they met, and in the summer of 1929 a passionate relationship began between Dalí and Gala, which later became a marriage.

In 1931, Dalí made his most famous work, The Persistence of Memory. Also known as Soft Watches or Melting Clocks, pocket watches melting in front of a wide beach view are depicted. The work is generally interpreted as a protest against the rigid and immutable concept of time. Dalí would later write that this painting was inspired by a Camembert cheese melting in the hot August sun.

Dalí and Gala, who have lived together since 1929, were married in 1934 in a state marriage. (They were going to freshen up with a Catholic wedding in 1958.) Dalí, who opened an exhibition in New York the same year, caused a sensation in the USA and gained great fame. When he was asked to give a speech at the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, he appeared on the stage in a bulky old-style diving suit. She wore a jewel-embroidered wedge around the waist of the jumpsuit; he was holding a cue cue in one hand and tugging at a pair of wolfdogs with the other. As he had difficulty breathing during the conversation, the hood of his diving suit was removed.

Dalí traveled to Hollywood in 1937 and met the Marx brothers, famous comedians of the time, and wrote a movie script for them. In the summer of 1938, he met Sigmund Freud, whom he admired in London, and made several portraits of the famous psychologist. Like all Surrealists, Dalí was interested in the expression of the unconscious, and followed Freud's writings on the unconscious with interest.

When the Spanish Civil War, which started in 1936 and plunged all of Spain into chaos, ended with the victory of General Francisco Franco in 1939, Dalí declared his support for the newly established fascist regime. Thereupon, the surrealists, mostly Marxists, who did not like Dalí's exaggerated efforts to draw attention, openly turned their backs on Dalí. Breton, the leader of the surrealist group, drew a sarcastic anagram from Salvador Dalí's name: Avida Dollars. Dalí replied quickly: "Le surréalisme, c'est moi!" (Surrealism is mine!) The conflict between the surrealists and Dalí would continue until Dalí died.

In 1940, Dalí and Gala, II. They escaped from World War II and settled in the USA. They would stay here for nine years. In 1942, Dalí published his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. In 1945-46, Destino worked with Walt Disney, and with Alfred Hitchcock in the production of Spellbound films. In 1947 he painted a surrealist portrait of Picasso.

Return to Catalonia

In 1949, Dalí returned to Europe with his wife and settled in his hometown of Catalonia. He would stay here for the rest of his life. His settlement in Spain, which was ruled by the fascist Franco regime, once again drew the reaction of left-wing artists and intellectuals.

Dalí published the Mystical Manifesto, in 1951, in which he synthesized some concepts of Catholicism and modern science. II. In his post-World War II works, Catholic themes and modern science concepts such as DNA, hypercube (four-dimensional cube), and atomic dissolution would come to the fore. Dalí, who was impressed by the power of the atomic bomb exploding in Hiroshima, called this period of his life "nuclear mysticism." During this period, Dalí experimented with many different techniques such as splashing paint on canvas, holograms, optical illusions, and stereoscopy.

In 1960, the mayor of Figueres decided to restore the Municipal Theater, which had hosted Dalí's first exhibition many years ago, and was damaged by the civil war under the name "Dalí Theater and Museum". Dalí was personally involved in the construction and decoration of the museum until 1974, and he spent a lot of time and effort on this project. Although the museum opened in 1974, Dalí continued to make minor additions and changes until the mid-1980s.

On June 10, 1982, Gala, Dalí's beloved wife, manager, model and muse, died. Having lost the will to live after Gala's death, Dalí settled in Púbol Castle, where his wife died and was buried, and began to lead a reclusive life. In July 1982, Spanish King Juan Carlos declared Dalí the Mark of Púbol. In return, Dalí gifted the king a drawing called The Head of Europe. The painting Sparrow's Tail, which he made in Púbol Castle in 1983, would be Dalí's last work. In August 1984, Dalí was injured in his leg in a fire for an unknown cause in his bedroom in the castle. Shortly after this incident, he returned to Figueres and began living at the Salvador Dalí Theater and Museum.

Dalí died of heart failure on January 23, 1989, and was buried in the cellar of the museum that bears his name in Figueres.


During his lifetime, Dalí produced more than 1500 paintings and dozens of sculptures, as well as a variety of lithographs, book illustrations, theatrical decorations and costumes. He has also worked with photographers such as Man Ray, Brassaï, Cecil Beaton and Philippe Halsman and fashion designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior.

The vast majority of Dalí's works today are found in the Dalí Theater and Museum in Figueres. Florida's St. The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and the Salvador Dalí Gallery in Los Angeles also house hundreds of works by the artist.

The crucified Jesus picture, donated by Dalí to Rikers Island Prison in New York in 1965, was hung in the prison refectory until 1981, and then hung in the lobby of the prison, and in 2003 it was stolen from the lobby by unidentified people. The main source of inspiration of Salvador Dali, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, the representative of surrealism, that is, surrealism, was his dreams, fears and dreams, and Dali was also exhibited in Istanbul with his works that direct the flow of painting. In the exhibition “A Surrealist Salvador Dali in Istanbul”, which is a comprehensive retrospective of Dali, 380 pieces of works such as the Spanish artist's oil paintings, drawings and graphics as well as manuscripts, notebooks, letters and photographs were exhibited.

Political view

Politics played a very important role in Salvador Dalí's existence as an artist. The founder of surrealism, Trotskyist André Breton, started his artistic life as a pro-fascist Franco who took power in a bloody manner in the following periods.

In his youth, anarchist-communist writings focused on shocking the reader rather than a deep insight with sharp outlets. Dada effect is seen in these years. As Dali grew older, the Trotskyist André Breton became a surrealist with the increased effectiveness of the surrealist movement.

When the Spanish Civil War begins, Dali avoids fighting and siding with a group. Similarly, in the Second World War, George Orwell criticized Dali for "running away like a mouse when France is in danger". Years later, Dali stated that "when the European war approaches, all he thinks is to find the oven a nice place where he can be clicked when the danger gets closer". II. When he returned to Catalonia after World War II, he became closer to the Franco regime. Some of his words supported the Franco regime and thanked him for clearing Spain of the destructive forces. During this period he converted to Catholic faith. He also congratulated Franko on his death sentence. He also met Franco personally and painted Franco's grandmother. It is impossible to determine whether his feelings for Franko were sincere or liar.

Science and Dali

Salvador Dali was interested in different fields, as well as painting, sculpture, photography and filmmaking. However, he placed a different emphasis on science. Optical illusions and double images that inspired in the 1930s were Max Planck's quantum theory in 1940, the disintegration of the atom after the Hiroshima disaster in 1945. In the early 1950s, he had put aside the atomic bomb and focused his attention on the "particles" of the German physicist Werner Heisenberg.

“Here,” he said, “is the most important proof that God exists,” in 1953, when he read Watson and Crick's famous article in the 171st issue of Nature magazine and saw the double helix structure drawn by Crick's wife Odile. DNA is a ladder created by Jacob from genetic angels and the only link between man and God. ”

For 23 years starting from this date, the structure of the DNA molecule has become an integral part of both his daily life and his art. He believed that the double helix was the basic form of life and used this symbol in his ten or so paintings. In his painting "Butterfly Landscape. The Great Masturbator in a Surrealist Landscape with DNA", Freudian placed DNA in three-dimensional form in the land full of symbols.

The 25 x 1962 meter painting, which he made in memory of nearly a thousand people who drowned and disappeared in the Barcelona flood disaster on September 3, 3.5, bears the name "Galacidalacidezoxyribonucleic acid". In 2002, a note next to the painting seen at the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida, right by the sea, recorded that Dali formed this elusive name from the words Gala, cid, ala, and deoxyribonucleic acid. According to the information in the same note, “Gala” is the name of his wife, whom the artist loved very much, his source of inspiration and the main figure of many of his works. “El Cid” is the popular name of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the national hero of the Spanish who fought against the Berbers in the 11th century. “Ala” is the abbreviated form of Allah, and “deoxyribonucleic acid” is the clear name of the DNA molecule.

“I believe in God, but I am not a believer. Mathematics and science tell me that God must be, but I don't believe it, ”says Salvador Dali, examining the complex relationship between science and religion in this painting. At first glance, it seems to be trying to explain the superiority of religion over science, but it tries to express that they are actually parallel to each other and even based on symmetrical foundations. DNA double helix life encountered in several parts of the picture consisting of five open and one hidden images; On the right, men in groups of four aiming their rifles at each other symbolize death, the beings in the sky, after death.

Dali also made other paintings on similar subjects and given similar names. The "Desoxyribonucleic Acid Arabs" on display at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid is another proof of the artist's admiration for this unique molecule. He likens the symmetry of DNA to his relationship with his wife, endlessly: “Just like Gala and me, these two halves, which fit together perfectly, open and close without wondering. Life is based on the absolute rule of deoxyribonucleic acid, it decides inheritance. "

Dali was interested in mathematics from the 1980s until his death. In particular, he was interested in French mathematician Rene Thom's catastrophe theory, which shows that continuous functions can turn into non-continuous ones and that the value of a function can suddenly change (i.e. the mathematical expression of a calm dog suddenly attacking you). As in his latest work, The Swallowtail, he carried numerous mathematical symbols into his paintings and tried to reflect his philosophy of life through them, but he never lost his passion for the DNA molecule.

Dali was now 81 years old when he crowned his fondness for science with the convention he held in his birthplace, Figueres, called “Coincidence in Nature”. Almost all of the speakers were Nobel laureate scientists. Chemist Ilya Prigogine, physicist Jorge Wagensberg, mathematician Rene Thom were there. The prominent figures of the scientific world, famous philosophers and artists were among the audience. Dali was too sick to get out of bed and watched everything through closed-circuit television cameras. Salvador Dali died on January 23, 1989, three years after this congress. They found books by two physicists and a mathematician: Stephen Hawking, Erwin Schrödinger and Matila Ghyka.

Günceleme: 07/01/2021 00:15

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