The Early Life of Salvador Dali Salvador Dali had a dream that turned into inspiration to create The Persistence of Memory, now a world known master piece. Dali was born in Spain in 1904, and named Salvador after his brother who had died just nine months earlier at the age of three. At the age of five, Dali’s parents took him to his brother’s grave, where they told him he was simply his brother reincarnated. Dali also visit the grave and placed flowers on it, all while looking at the tombstone with his name written on it.
Thus, Dali became obsessed with his alter ego and trying to find his true self. His father was a well off man who made regular visits to prostitutes. His father believed that somehow he had transmitted a venereal disease to his first son. Due to his father’s paranoia, Dali was shown pictures of sores and syphilis at a young age. Dali recalled these imagines as being frightening and grotesque, and began associating them with sexuality as a whole. Dali also became obsessed with his strangely complex sexuality. As an adolescent he came to realized he was poorly equipped for intercourse.
A disturbing discovery, his comment in his “Unspeakable confessions” were: “For a long time I experienced the misery of believing I was impotent,”. ”Naked, and comparing myself to my school friends, I discovered that my penis was small, pitiful and soft. I can recall a pornographic novel whose Don Juan machine-gunned female genitals with ferocious glee, saying that he enjoyed hearing women creak like watermelons. I convinced myself that I would never be able to make a woman creak like a watermelon. ” Although this discovery would seem not quite that odd, for Dali masturbation would be almost the only sexual activity throughout his life.
When Dali was a young child, he wanted to be a cook, but then at age six he started painting. Dali said “When I was three I wanted to be a cook. At the age of six I wanted to be Napoleon. Since then my ambition has increased all the time”. His parents were unsure of his art as it showed signs of aggression, and sent him away to stay with a family friend, also an artist, Pitchot. In one incident Dali was walking with a friend, as they crossed a fifteen foot bridge, Dali pushed him off onto the rocks below. Dali even seemed numb to the whole situation.
While his friend was bleeding away in a room, Dali calmly ate a bowl of cherries while his mom repeatedly carried out bowls of blood. Another violent incident in his childhood involved a wounded animal. In his hideaway, a washhouse at Pitchot’s, a wounded bat stayed there over night. Dali returned to it in the morning to find it being devoured by a swarming mass of ants. Impulsively, Dali bit into the disturbing carcass with delirious pleasure. Ants and cherries are both reoccurring images in Dali’s paintings. Dali’s mother was the one who encouraged Dali’s art work.
Dali’s mother died tragically from cancer when Dali was only sixteen, his father quickly married Dali’s aunt. Dali once said that his mothers death, “was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her… I could not resign myself to the loss of a being one whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul. ” In 1922, Dali went to Madrid to study art, he refused to finish, claiming that the teachers where not up to par with him, and therefore not competent enough to grade him. While in school, he already made a name for himself. He already had his trademark, mustache.
He wore his hair long with sideburns, coat, stockings, and knee breeches, of the English, in the late 19th century. Dali was also known for being expelled from school twice, and by his comments on art. Dali moved to Paris in 1926, where he began his friendship with Picasso, a fellow Spaniard whose work he admired. He soon established himself as the principal figure of surrealist grouped around Andre Breton. Dali had a falling out with the surrealists and Breton over politics and his behaviors, not limited to: making accusations of support of fascism, excessive self-presentation and financial greed.
Dali was quoted as saying “Surrealism is me”. Breton nicknamed Dale “Avida Dollars” and expelled him from the movement. In 1929, Dali met Helena Diakanoff Devulina, more commonly known as Gala. It appears she may have dominated Dali, fascinating and terrifying him from the very beginning. When they met, she was still married to Paul Eluard. Although they did have an unusual relationship, both of them accepted and even encouraged each other’s affairs and infidelities. It got to the point where Gala felt as Eluard was pushing her on Dali, his friend.
She left her husband to move in with Dali. It would seem that Gala, the highly sexual Russian brought some sort of sexual release to Dali along with the idea of intelligent companionship. As for her Dali brought the promise to have a career and a fortune waiting to be made along with sexual tolerance she craved. All the while, Dali’s relationship with his father dwindled. Dali’s father strongly disapproved of his son’s relationship with Gala. He also saw Dali’s connection with the surrealists as a bad influence on his morals.
When his father read in a Barcelona paper that Dali had recently exhibited a drawing of “Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ”, and an inscription that read “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait” that was the last straw. Although the Salvador Dali was one of the best known and definitely one of the most flamboyant surrealists, he upheld himself on a pedestal. Possessed with enormous skills and talents, he painted his dreams and bizarre moods in the most precise illusionistic fashion; often conveying his deepest insecurities. Was he a genius?
Or did Dali simply work his entire life trying to portray one, constantly trying to find himself. . Works Cited Britt, David. Modern Art Impressionism to Post-Modernism. London: Thames ; Hudson Ltd, 1999. Print. “Encyclopedia of World Biography on Salvador Dali. ” Book Rags. Thomson Corporation, 2006. Web. 12 Jul 2010. ;http://www. bookrags. com/biography/salvador-dali/;. Hughes, Robert. “Salvador Dali: Baby Dali. ” TIME 04 Jul 1994: n. pag. Web. 12 Jul 2010. ;http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981012-3,00. html;.
Martinez-Herrera, Jose. “Dali (1904–1989): Psychoanalysis and Pictorial Surrealism. ” The American Journal of Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association , May 2003. Web. 12 Jul 2010. ;http://ajp. psychiatryonline. org/cgi/content/full/160/5/855;. “Salvador Dali. ” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. , 10 July 2010. Web. 11 Jul 2010. ;http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD#cite_note-9; “Salvador Dali – Birth. ” The Surrealiss Website. C4U, 2010. Web. 12 Jul 2010. ;http://www. surrealists. co. uk/dali. php;.