Spanish painter Salvador Dali not only created surreal art, he lived a surreal life too.
In 1924, after World War I a new cultural movement called Surrealism was started by French poet Andre Breton. Surrealism extended beyond painting. It had an effect on film, poetry, music and sculpture. The word surrealism means “more than real” from the French word sur which means “above”. Surrealists wanted to rebel against the rational, everyday world.
Many Surrealists tried drawing without thinking so that they could bring out whatever was in their unconscious mind. The art looks disturbing and sometimes just plain weird, but has a lot of interesting details if you take a closer look.
Above the real
Surrealist artists loved to combine objects that are not usually found together such as a lobster on a telephone. The Belgian artist Rene Magritte created a human head and painted it over with a blue sky full of clouds. This makes the head look as if it is dissolving into air!
One of the most famous artists belonging to the Surrealism movement was Spanish artist Salvador Dali. Born on May 11, 1904, Salvador loved art and playing football when he was growing up in Figueres, Spain. He went to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid when he was 17.
At the Academy, the young Dali had a wild set of friends. He grew his hair and wore his sideburns long. He got into trouble with his teachers and was expelled before he could graduate. Dali experimented with various forms of art. He explored Classical art, Impressionism, Cubism and Dadaism. Ultimately, he got interested in Surrealism through the work of artists like Joan Miro and Rene Magritte.
One of Dali’s most famous paintings is The Persistence of Memory. The painting shows a set of melting clock faces in a beautiful dream-like landscape. There is a weird shape with what looks like a face in the middle of the painting, and another melting clock draped over it. Dali wanted to show that time does not stay fixed. Some people think Dali was thinking about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity when he painted the picture. His painting Swans Reflecting Elephants has amazing reflections in it.
Dali created surreal works of art and also lived his life in a surreal manner. He often shocked people with his crazy behaviour and dress. He had a funny, pencil thin moustache that curled up at the ends. Sometimes he and his wife Gala would go to parties dressed in weird costumes that would upset other people.
Salvador Dali died in 1989. He was such a talented artist and he made important contributions to sculpture, film, theatre, fashion, photography and other areas besides painting.
You can go online to look at pictures by Dali, with permission from your parents, on this website: http://www.virtualdali.com