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Salvador Dali : Influences Essay, Research Paper
Salvador Dali: Influences
Perhaps one of the world’s greatest artists is the hispanic artist Salvador Dali. He won
many awards and became very successful in his work as an artist. Mr. Dali even has his own art
museum right here in St. Petersburg. During his childhood and thereafter, during the
Depression, Salvador Dali’s artwork and personality were influenced by many different people
Dali’s personal life exhibited to his contemporaries and those who enjoyed his works
after his lifetime the various influences that led to his artistry. During his childhood, his family life
was difficult and operose. His relationship with his parents was not benevolent. This had an
extensive influence on Salvador and his artwork. His father opposed Salvador’s chosen
occupation. By the time the young wonder was twenty years old, his father had already
disowned him. Both his mother and his father were embarrassed and dissapointed by thier son
and his vocation (Descharnes 11-12).
Not only did Dali have a traumatic childhood, he also found schooling boring and
monotonous. He disliked his early grade schooling most of all. He began at a small Christian
school, but was expelled and sent to a larger middle class school (Descharnes 10-11). Even
after disowning his son, Salvador Dali’s father decided to pay for his son to attend the San
Fernando Academy of Fine Arts. Dali was quickly disappointed with the teaching at the
Academy. He found that his teachers were just discovering novelties like Impressionism, which
Dali had been reading about and practicing since 1920 (Descharnes 14). While at the Academy
of Fine Arts, Dali was expelled, arrested, and imprisoned for inciting riots because of a new
teacher that Dali found to be unworthy of teaching him (Descharnes 15).
During the 1930s, Dali’s personality was a creative, offensive, and artistic one. These
sides of his personality were most often shown to his Surrealist group. This group would meet
regularly to discuss the principles, ideals, and practice of producing fantastic or creative imagery
and effects in art and literature by means of unnatural juxtapositions and combinations.
Dali’s uncongenial side showed through in a painting titled The Enigma Of William Tell,
which depicted Lenin nearly nude with a deformed buttock supported by a crutch. The group
found this picture to be offensive because of the disrespect it showed to the proletariat. Dali’s
obsession with Hitler also angered the Surrealists and made the group demand explanations of
his works. Within the same time period, Dali managed to offend the International Exhibiton of
Surrealist Art by wearing a diving suit to a convention and almost suffocating himself in the suit
On the other hand, Dali was also an achiever. He worked very hard on whatever he was
doing to attain success. He collaborated with magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Town
& Country (Descharnes 39). Dali also wrote books. His most famous publications of this time
period were La Femme Visible and Conquest of the Irrational. He also wrote a small article titled
“Minotaure”, which explained the symoblic function of surrealism (Descharnes 34). Dali worked
on costumes and scenery for the plays “Labyrinth”, ” Sentimental Colloquy”, and “El Cafe De
Cuintas”, to name a few (Descharnes 39). His paintings were numerous and praiseworthy during
the time of the Depression. He had his own exhibits in New York and Paris. He painted many
works during this point in this life and many of them became famous. For example, both The
Persistance of Memory and Six Apparitions of Lenin on a Piano were phenomenal successes.
Dali was influenced by many things in his career as an artist. Two who inspired him
early in life were artists Juan Gris and Seurat. Dali admired these artists because their styles
were unique. Another of his influences was Italian Metaphysical School. The people there
taught Dali to become a more meditative and relaxed person (Descharnes 14). His later
influences differed quite a bit from his earlier ones. His biggest influence was his wife Gala, with
whom he had a wonderful relationship. Gala kept her husband alive through the Great
Depression by inspiring him to work, during the hard times and the good. Gala was originally the
wife of one of Dali’s friends. Gala and Salvador fell in love after meeting at an art covention.
Gala divorced her husband and married Dali (Schneede 172). Another of Dali’s greatest
influences was Sigmund Freud and his teachings on psychoanalysis. Dali liked this style of
painting because it confused the analysis of his artwork. Freud studied and approved of
Salvador’s works (Schneede 34). Still another of Dali’s influences were meditation and dreams.
These two things played a big part in Dali’s artwork. Dali discovered most of his paintings in his
dreams (Descharnes 28-30).
Dali also influenced many people, at least two of them immensely. One was Elsa
Schiaparelli. She was a designer for magazines and fashion. Dali helped to influence her
womens fashions, especially her scarves, buttons, and other small accessories. He also
influenced her fashion advertising and her window fashions. Another was an English millionaire
named Edward James. James stated that he liked Dali’s flamboyancy and used it in decorating
of houses and galleries (Lucie-Smith 174).
Throughout his life, Dali’s influences were many and varied. His artistry reflected thier
disparity and strength. People of all sorts enjoy his art. Nevertheless, Dali remains one of the
most controversial artists of all time. He will continue to inspire wonder and awe in people
worldwide for many years to come.
Descharnes, Robert. Salvador Dali. New York: Abrams Inc Publishers, 1973.
Lucie-Smith, Eward. Lives of the Great Twentieth Century Artists. New York: Rizzoli, 1987.
Schneede, Uwe M. Surrealism: The Movement and the Masters. New York; Abrams Inc
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