Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)

Dali was an infamous Spanish painter, sculptor, filmmaker, printmaker, and performance artist. He was known as much for his eccentric and controversial lifestyle as his influential work.

Dali was born in Figueres, a small town outside Barcelona, to a prosperous middle class family. Early on he displayed a propensity for the arts and started lessons aged just 10 years old. Dali’s brother had tragically died nine months before he was born; something which deeply affected Dali.

On his fifth birthday, his parents took him to the graveside of his sibling and told him that he was the reincarnation of their first son. The young Dali, dressed in his brother’s clothes and also named Salvador, would have to set himself apart from his dead brother as well being closely bonded to him. Dali said, “[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.”
In 1922 Dali began to study art at the Royal Academy of Art in Madrid, where he experimented with Cubism and Dada.

He was expelled for causing from the school for causing unrest; his opinion being that he was more qualified than those who should have examined him. In 1928 Dali went to Paris where he met the Spanish painters Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, who introduced Dali to some of their Surrealist friends. He discovered Sigmund Freud’s writings on the erotic significance of subconscious imagery. To bring up images from his subconscious mind, Dalí began to induce hallucinatory states in himself by a process he described as “paranoiac critical.”