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Posted on August 21st, 2012, by

Salvador Dali is one of the most renowned and prominent artists of the 20th century. His artistic work produced a profound impact on the development of the 20th century art and it is even possible to estimate that he revolutionized the 20th century art in a way. He is one of the major contributors to the development of surrealism. In fact, it is due to his works, surrealism became of the main stream movements in the 20th century art. The impact of Salvador Dali was so significant that his works are still interesting to the modern public, while his unique and original style was use by many contemporary artists in their works. At the same time, the artistic work of Salvador Dali was closely intertwined with his personal life and, what is more, his work was practically inseparable from his personal life.

The life of Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was born in 1904, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. His father was a middle-class lawyer and notary. He was very strict in upbringing of his son that could have deprived Dali of his artistic inclinations, but his mother encouraged him to focus on artistic work and he enjoyed learning art. His education was closely intertwined with art since he started to attend drawing school, where he could learn painting and develop his innate skills and abilities to painting.

However, the acquaintance with modern painting in 1916 produced a profound impact on Salvador Dali and encouraged him to keep working and paining using new, experimental approaches. His first exhibition took place at his home, where Dali’s father exhibited his first charcoal drawings. In 1919, the first public exhibition of his paintings took place at the Municipal Theater of Figueres. After the death of his mother in 1921, he moved to Madrid and later to Paris, where his artistic career started to progress rapidly.

In fact, in Madrid and Paris he had larger opportunities to develop his talent and get acquainted with recent trends in the modern art. At the epoch, Paris was the center of the modern art and world’s culture. Many outstanding artists lived in Paris at the epoch and, therefore, Dali had ample opportunities to develop his own, unique style being acquainted with recent trends and experiments of the leading artists of the epoch, many of which became his friends. For instance, he got acquainted with one of most popular artists of the epoch Pablo Picasso, whose works apparently produced a significant impact on Dali’s professional career and painting style. At the same time, Dali was acquainted with many writers, poets and other talented artists. For instance, among his close friends, it is possible to name the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, Pepin Bello, Luis Bunuel and many others artists working in different fields of art, but renowned for their original styles and views on art (Finkelstein, et al., 259).

By the 1930s his works became popular and the interest of the public and critics increased. Gradually, he gain an international acclaim and repeatedly travelled to different countries, including the USA. His art became more and more diverse. Along with painting he started experiments in cinematography, he wrote books on art, revealing his vision of art in the modern world.

By the 1960s he became one of the cult painters of the 20th century. Since 1949, Dali has spent the rest of his life in Catalonia, where he could continue his artistic work and live in the beloved region. However, in the 1980s, his health started to deteriorate dramatically and he could not pain anymore, while the death of his wife undermined physical and psychological power of Salvador Dali. Eventually, he died in 1980 because of a heart attack (Finkelstein et al., 347).

Artistic work

The artistic work of Salvador Dali was highly controversial. He was one of the main contributors to the development of the 20th century surrealism. However, his unusual, extraordinary works provoked extremely controversial reaction. On the one hand, a part of critics and the public believed that Dali was a genius painter, while on the other hand, many people and critics did not accept nor understand his experimental painting and considered him as an eccentric artist who is more concerned with his promotion rather than with his artistic work.

Nevertheless, many of his works are renowned as outstanding masterpieces of the 20th century painting. In this respect, it is worth mentioning his “Persistence of Memory”¯, also known as Soft Watches or Melting Clocks. This painting is very symbolic and original, depicting melting clocks it evokes philosophical thoughts and has quite eloquent symbols, such as clocks that symbolize the unstoppable time that inevitably leads to the end of human life (Aramaki, 38). Remarkably, this work was created in 1931 and was one of the most successful works by Dali.


Finally, Dali was not only a painter, but he attempted to create films and to write books and in all these fields he proved to be quite successful. His surrealism became one of the mainstream trends in the 20th century art, while Dali became one of the classical artists of the 20th century.

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