Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, from 1982 Marqués de Púbol (* 11 May 1904 in Figueres, Catalonia; † 23 January 1989 ibid.), was a Spanish painter, graphic artist, writer, sculptor and stage designer. One of the main representatives of Surrealism, he is one of the best-known painters of the 20th century.
By 1929, Dalí had found his personal style and genre, the world of the unconscious that appears in dreams. Melting clocks, crutches and burning giraffes became identifying features in Dalí's painting. His technical skill as a painter allowed him to paint his canvases in an old-master style reminiscent of later Photorealism.
Dalí's most frequent subjects, apart from the world of dreams, are those of intoxication, fever and religion; his wife Gala is often depicted in his paintings. Dalí's sympathy for the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, his eccentric behaviour and his late work often led to controversies in the evaluation of his person and his works up to the present day.
Dalí was born in Figueres, Catalonia, and received his fine arts training in Madrid. Influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters from a young age, he was increasingly drawn to Cubism and avant-garde movements. In the late 1920s he moved closer to Surrealism and in 1929 joined the Surrealist group, soon becoming one of its leading exponents. His most famous work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931 and is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings. Dalí lived in France during the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) before moving to the USA in 1940, where he achieved commercial success. He returned to Spain in 1948, where he announced his return to the Catholic faith and developed his style of "nuclear mysticism" based on his interest in classicism, mysticism and recent scientific developments.
Dalí's artistic repertoire included painting, graphics, film, sculpture, design and photography, at times in collaboration with other artists. He also wrote fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays and criticism. The main themes of his work are dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science and his closest personal relationships. To the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the annoyance of his critics, his eccentric and ostentatious public behaviour often attracted more attention than his artwork. His public support for the Francoist regime, his commercial activities and the quality and authenticity of some of his late works were also controversial. His life and work were an important influence on other surrealists, pop artists and contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
There are two major museums dedicated to Salvador Dalí's works: the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spain, and the Salvador Dalí Museum.
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232 | The Burning Giraffe (Die brennende Giraffe), 1937
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