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Article: Featured Artist of the Week: Salvador Dali and His Surreal World

Featured Artist of the Week: Salvador Dali and His Surreal World - BestPaintByNumbers

Featured Artist of the Week: Salvador Dali and His Surreal World

Much like most artists who ever surfaced on the earth, Salvador Dali lived a life stranger than fiction. His interesting world was reflected in his artworks which made him the most notable Surrealist artist of all time. His famed life was well-documented, he was in the spotlight, the type of artist seen by the public eye. We may know Dali by his name; after all, his name is a staple in the art world, and even non-artists may have heard something about him.

His artworks can easily be distinguished from the rest, and the most iconic one is the Persistence of Time, or melting clocks if you will. These are the things known about him, but if you wanna know Salvador Dali on a deeper level, continue reading this article to learn more about our featured artist for this week. You surely do not wanna miss out on this one!

Salvador Dalí surrealism

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Known for the symbolic and whimsical mustache, Salvador Dali was the greatest artist in the Surrealism movement and one of the most innovative and accomplished painters of the twentieth century. Though mostly renowned for his paintings, he also worked in sculpting, printmaking, fashion, literature, and film. He was most notable for his collaboration with famous Hollywood director Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound. Dali was known as much for his colorful attitude and reputation as a clever creative force as for his unquestionable artistic abilities. 

Who is Salvador Dali?

Before his birth, his parents had a hard time coping with his older brother who died and was also named Salvador. At the age of five, upon visiting his brother’s grave, he was told that he was a reincarnation of his brother, which he eventually believed yet concluded that they were different in terms of their reflection and that his brother was conceived “too much in the absolute,” according to him.

An illustration of el Salvador Dali

His childhood environment in Spain became a massive influence on his art style, which also reflected even in his mature period as an artist– the environment he lived in became a repetitive theme in most of his surreal landscapes. Due to the support, he garnered from his parents, his craftsmanship and artistic sensibilities were honed as early as the age of 10, when he got his first artistic lessons.

He eventually enrolled at the Madrid School of Fine Arts during his teenage years where he explored Impressionism and Pointillism as art styles. 

The Surreal World of Salvador Dali: Life as an Artist

There is so much to know about Dali because he lived quite a long life and throughout his lifetime, he created a plethora of artworks ranging from paintings to sculptures, prints, and even film. His art career was vast and filled with controversies. Get to know more about Dali as an artist as we discuss the influences behind his art, his famous artworks, and the legacy he left in the world of art.


Dali was many things and he wanted to be defined by many things. His influence and inspiration from great people made him want to be like them, but he eventually settled to be himself–Salvador Dali. 

His early period as an artist, distinguished by still lifes and organic morphology, was greatly influenced by the Cubism art movement, especially by its forefathers, Pablo Picasso and George Braque. He eventually experimented and transitioned to a different art style from 1927-1928, where he was inspired by the works of Surrealist artists like Joan Miro and Yves Tanguy. He was also inspired by Dada painter Max Ernst.

Going forward with his experimentations in Surrealism, he was eventually influenced by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The Freudian influence was very evident in his artwork, as recurring motifs on sexuality, dreams, and human subconsciousness. The ironic part, however, was Freud’s ambivalence on surrealism as he was more fond of classical and old masters. There was even a time back in 1938 when Freud and Dali met, though Dali described the meeting as a failure.

Even though Dali was widely renowned for his surreal artwork, a short period in his life was influenced by Classical and Renaissance art, where he took inspiration from painters like Raphael, Johannes Vermeer, and Diego Velazquez. 

A photo of a brown and white concrete building

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Famous Artworks

Dali came onto the art scene in 1929 with the release of Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), a surrealist film he co-directed with Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel. The movie catapulted the writers to the forefront of the French surrealism circle, which was led by André Breton. Dali created some of the most iconic surrealist artworks between 1929 and 1973, including his masterwork, The Persistence of Memory (1931).

In the picture, typical goods are twisted and exhibited oddly and illogically: timepieces, firm and hard items look curiously flaccid and disintegrating in the barren environment. He seamlessly combines the actual and the imagined in the picture to "systemize confusion and thereby fully invalidate the realm of reality."

Dali's most significant contribution to Surrealism was the paranoiac-critical approach, which he created in the 1930s. The methodology demanded that the artist achieve a consciousness state that he defined as a "spontaneous manner of illogical knowledge, based on the critical-interpretative connection of delirious experiences." He also produced writings in which he explored and characterized surreal objects, such as Lobster Telephone (1936) and Mae West Lips Sofa (1937), which were generally built from available or ready components.

A dali museum figueras mouth lips

Dali created around 1,500 paintings over his lifetime. He also created book graphics, prints, ideas for theatrical costumes and props, hundreds of sculptures, and a variety of other works, including a short animated film for Disney.


While Dali’s later years were critically received by the art world, where some critics were harsh with his post-surrealism works, he remained famed in the art industry until the end of his life. Due to his fame, speculations were rife that Dali’s close inner circles may have forced Dali to sign his signature on an empty canvas so that it may be forged by another artist. No confirmation of this allegation was made to this day.

This just shows how revered Dali is to this day, where millions of people will flock to his exhibits dedicated to him and thousands would bid for millions to acquire a single painting by the whimsical artist.

spain costa brava cadaques

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Art Inspiration from the Master Himself 

Dali was fascinated with many things and he took inspiration not only from artists, philosophers, and psychoanalysts but also from various technical concepts outside art. Dali explored several odd or unique media and methods late in his life, including bulletin works and being among the first painters to use holograms aesthetically. Several of his pieces contain optical illusions.

Young painters such as Roy Lichtenstein considered Dali a key influence on pop art in his final years. Dali was extremely fascinated by science and mathematics. This is evident in some of his paintings, particularly those from the 1950s, in which he depicted his figures as rhinoceros horns.

A Salvador Dali clock sculpture time

Key Insights

Salvador Dali's artistic talent is based on his adaptability. Throughout his career, he never restricted himself to a single type of painting or medium. Dali's artistry and himself were always altering as he progressed from the Early to the Surreal to the Classical Periods. Dali was always ahead of his time even intellectually.

He was a pioneer in incorporating Freudian beliefs about fantasies into his work. He showed the impacts of an atomic weapon on his cherished boyhood scenery because of his passion for current science. Dali's use of symbols and intellectual understanding elevates him to the ranks of the greatest twentieth-century contemporary painters.

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