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 Salvador Dali Biography

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مُساهمةموضوع: Salvador Dali Biography   الأربعاء يونيو 10, 2009 7:55 am




Salvador Dali Biography: Early Life

Salvador Dali was born Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali y Domenech on the 11th of May, 1904 in Figures in Catalonia in Spain. His father Salvador Dali i Cusi was a lawyer and a notary. His mother’s name was Felipa Domenech Ferres. She would encourage his artistic talents.

Dali had an elder brother who had died 9 months before he was born. It is said that Dali was often told by his parents that he was his own brother, reincarnated. Dali soon came to believe that. Dali also had a younger sister called Ana Maria.

Dali used to attend drawing school. In 1916, he visited Cadaques for a vacation with Ramon Pichot and discovered modern painting. The following year, an exhibition of Dali’s charcoal drawings was arranged by his father in their family home. In 1919, Dali had his first public exhibition in Figueres.

In 1921, Dali’s mother died of breast cancer. For Dali, this was the biggest shock of his life. He worshipped his mother. Dali’s father then remarried with his aunt (mother’s sister). Some sources claim that Dali resented this marriage, while some claim that he didn’t.

Biography of Salvador Dali: Salvador Dali Paintings

In 1922 Dali moved to Madrid and stayed at the students’ residence at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts.

Lean and tall, Dali began to wear his hair long and grew sideburns and wore a coat, stockings and breeches. This drew a lot of attention from people towards him. This was perhaps the beginning of his eccentricities which were to gain him a lot of attention in his future.

These were also the times where he experimented with Cubism. He had not seen many examples of this technique of painting apart from a few pictures in catalogs and magazines which his friend Pichot gave him. But he painted nevertheless. Dali was also very much influenced by the work of Dada who influenced his work.

In 1926 he was expelled from the school because he claimed that none of his teachers were competent enough to examine him. The same year he painted his famous ‘Basket of Bread’. He also met Pablo Picasso that year. For many years after that, his work reflected the influences of Picasso and Miro.

Meanwhile, Dali had also grown a moustache which he used to point upwards in a flamboyant manner. This was, apparently done to honor another artist Diego Velazquez, a 17th century painter that Dali admired very much.

In 1929, Dali worked with the surrealistic filmmaker Luis Bunuel, who was also his school friend. They created a short film called ‘Un Chien Andalou’ which means An Andalusian Dog. Dali is said to have contributed in the script writing and filming aspects of the movie.

In 1929, he also met Gala. She was eleven years older to him and was a Russian immigrant and was already married to the surrealist poet Paul Eluard. Dali and Gala began living together. Dali used to call her his muse.

Dali joined the group of surrealist painters from Montparnasse, Paris. For over two years, his work had shown definitive influences of surrealism.

In 1930, Dali again collaborated with Luis Bunuel to make the film ‘L’Age d’Or’ (The Golden Age) which is well remembered for its opening scene which simulated the slashing of a human eyeball with a razor.

In 1931, Dali painted ‘The Persistence of Memory’ one of his most well-known and well-liked paintings. In this picture we see the images of several pocket watches melting away and being eaten by ants and flies in a vast landscape of a mountain and a sea. It is said that this painting conveys several ideas within the image; chiefly that time is not rigid, everything is destructible and so on. It is said that the image is also suggestive of Einstein’s theory of the relativity of time.

In 1934 Dali and Gala got married in a civil ceremony.

Art dealer Julian Levy introduced Dali and America to each other and in 1934 Dali’s exhibition of paintings in New York created quite a stir. At a ball which was held in his honor, Dali, in his characteristic flamboyant and eccentric style, arrived wearing a class case on his chest which contained a brassiere.

In 1936 Dali participated in the London International Surrealistic Exhibition where he delivered a lecture titled ‘Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques’. He arrived in a deep sea diving suit, carrying a billiard cue and a pair of Russian wolfhounds. The helmet of the diving suit had to be unscrewed for him to speak. He later said that this was a way that he wanted to show that he was plunging into the depths of the human mind.

In 1936 he made the ‘Lobster Telephone’ for the Scottish patron of the arts, Edward James. The telephone was functional and James bought four of them for use in his home. Dali made close connections with food and sex and used the symbols of the lobster and the telephone to convey that idea.

In 1937, Dali also made the ‘Mae West Lips Sofa’ out of wood and satin. It was inspired from the lips of the actress Mae West, with whom Dali was fascinated. He had previously painted ‘The Face of Mae West’ in 1935.

When Franco came into power after the Spanish civil war, Dali was one of the few people to support his regime. This conflicted with the political views of several of his surrealist friends. This resulted in him being removed from their group. Thereafter, many of his surrealist colleagues would refer to him as if he were dead. This issue along with Dali’s flamboyant eye-catching antics which caught media attention was often severely criticized by the other surrealist painters. Andre Breton coined the anagram ‘Avida Dollars’ (which means ‘eager for dollars’) from the name Salvador Dali. To this Dali had only one answer: ‘Le surrealisme, c’est moi’ which means ‘Surrealism, that’s me’.

When World War II began, Dali moved to the United States. There, he took up the practice of Catholicism. In 1942, he published ‘The Secret Life of Salvador Dali’ which was an autobiography.

In 1944, Dali painted ‘Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening’. This painting along with many others contained the image of an elephant with long, multi-jointed and spindly legs. It is often said the image was representative of phallic overtones and create a sense of a phantom reality and contrast with the idea of weightlessness with structure.

Another image which recurs in several of Dali’s works is the egg. He used it to convey the ideas of prenatal and intrauterine to show love and hope. He also used the image of the snail to show the human head.

In 1949, he came back to Catalonia and spent the rest of his life there. Dali’s work was more often criticized on the basis of politics than on the merit of art.

In 1958 he married Gala in a Catholic ceremony.

In 1959 Andre Breton organized an exhibition titled ‘Homage to Surrealism’ which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Surrealism. Many surrealist painters were showcased in the exhibition such as Joan Miro, Eugenio Granell and of course Salvador Dali.

The next year Dali also participated in the International Surrealism Exhibition in New York where he showcased his painting ‘Sistine Madonna’.

History of Salvador Dali

Post World War II, Dali’s work had taken on the sheen of technical brilliance. He would incorporate optical illusions, holography, and geometry etc within his paintings. So many paintings contain images that depict divine geometry, the DNA, the Hyper Cube, and religious themes of Chastity. He would often call this period as ‘Nuclear Mysticism’. His noted paintings of the time are ‘The Madonna of Port-Lligat’, ‘Corpus Hypercubus’, and ‘Hallucinogenic Toreador’.

Between the years of 1941 to 1970 Dali had also created an ensemble of 39 jewels. ‘The Royal Heart’ is a famous example. It has been crafted with gold, and is encrusted with 46 rubies, 43 diamonds and 4 emeralds. The center of this piece looks like a real heart that beats which makes viewing the piece an awe inspiring experience.

Dali also worked with Alfred Hitchcock to create the dream sequence of the movie ‘Spellbound’ which is themed on psychoanalysis.

From 1960 to 1974, Dali dedicated the major part of his efforts in creating the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres. Meanwhile, he also designed the Chupa Chups logo in 1969 and created the advertising concept for the 1969 Eurovison Song Contest and a large metal sculpture for the Teatro Real in Madrid.

In 1975 Dali worked on the film ‘Impressions of Upper Mongolia’ where he narrated a story of an expedition in the search of giant hallucinogenic mushrooms. He based the imagery of the movie the microscopic uric acid stains which were created on the brass band of a ballpoint pen. Dali had been urinating on that pen for several weeks to create those stains.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed upon Salvador Dali the title of the Marquis of Pubol. In return Dali gave him a drawing titled ‘Head of Europa’ when the king visited Dali on his deathbed.

Facts on Salvador Dali

Dali was quite well known for his various eccentricities. He had quite a presence with his appearance: a long cape, a walking stick, a haughty expression and his upturned moustache. One of his well known statements is: "Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali".

When he signed autographs for his fans, Dali would keep their pens.

Once, when Dali appeared on the ‘Tonight Show’ he carried a leather rhinoceros with him and refused to sit on anything else.

Dali also contributed to photography. He contributed to Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s design efforts by creating for her a white dress with a lobster print, a shoe shaped hat and a pink colored belt with lips as a buckle. He also created textile designs and perfume bottles. With Christian Dior, he made the ‘Costume for the Year 2045’ in 1950. He also collaborated with famous photographers like Man Ray, Brassai and Philippe Halsman.

The ‘Dali Atomica’ series of photographs (1948) was quite well received.

In 1954 he even painted ‘The Disintegration of The Persistence of Memory’.

In 1956 he created a sculpture titled ‘Rinoceronte Vestido con Puntillas’.

Salvador Dali: Death

In June 1982, Gala died. This left him with no will to live. He began to dehydrate himself and moved to the castle in Pubol where she had died. A mysterious fire broke out in 1984 and Dali was shifted back to Figueres.

It has also been said that during the last years of his life, several people got Dali to sign on blank canvasses. Perhaps, that is why several art dealers doubt the authenticity of Dali’s paintings claimed to have been painted during those last years.

On the 23rd of January, 1989, Dali died of heart failure. He was 84 and is buried in the Teatro Museo in Figueres. He has more than 1500 paintings to his credit and innumerable illustrations, lithographs and designs.
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