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Happy Birthday Dali! May 11, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.


The great artist Salvador Dali was born on this date in Spain in 1904.  I've posted his most famous work The Persistence of Memory just below.  This is the one they use most frequently in Art History books when referring to either Dali, or surrealism.  It's hardly his best work, but it's the one everyone is familiar with.  The reclining, seemingly sleeping figure in the middle is called The Great Masturbator.  No kidding!


Dali was probably the most famous of all the surrealists, which was actually started as an artistic movement by a phrench poet named Andre Breton.  The Surrealists eagerly embraced Dali and his works into their fold.  Years later they became disgusted with his "greed" (aka – desire for monetary success) and blatant commercialism and he was "kicked out" of the movement.  He had by that time all but entirely eclipsed anyone else claiming to be a surrealist in terms of fame and recognition.Dali himself was a famously odd duck and he reveled in his strangeness.  How many of his antics were deliberate acts of self-promotion and how many were true expressions of his personality are a matter of debate.  In his autobiography Dali claims to have tasted his own feces because he was curious about the flavor.  There’s a starting point for you – there’s tons of stuff on the web about him, so I leave to you to go looking.

One of the things I liked most about Dali was his ability to draw.  Consider the drawing entitled Combat below:


The brutal savagery of these two figures exploding into each other encapsulates the concept of "combat" like nothing else I've ever seen.  From a strictly technical point of view, the drawing skills displayed here are nothing short of phenomenal.


1. geoff - May 11, 2006

Don’t know much about art, but I know what I like…to read. And I liked reading your brief review of Dali. Keep ’em coming, please.

2. Elzbth - May 11, 2006

You know, if you look at the reclining, seemingly sleeping figure in the middle at just the right angle and squint a little, it looks like a duck.

Really, that was a very interesting post.

Do you have a mustache?

3. kevlarchick - May 11, 2006

I could stare at “combat” all day. A lot going on there. But is there something phallic I’m missing in the reclining figure? It doesn’t look like someone taking the edge off. I guess I need to stare more.

4. Enas Yorl - May 11, 2006

Thanks for the comments y’all! Geoff, – yes I try to keep this stuff brief. I usually start on some long rambling thing just to realize that all this information is on the web elsewhere and easily found. A quick background and straight to the poo-tasting.

Elzbth, I had a mustache many years ago, but I don’t think I could ever produce something as distincive as Dali’s!

Kevlarchick, yes “Combat” is a fantastic example of his “atomization” of figures. I’ll put up a post about an interesting fact about it. As for the Great Maturbator, don’t take these things too literally. Dali liked to provoke as much as he liked to baffle people.

5. Muslihoon - May 12, 2006

Just as educational as it was entertaining!

Dali’s art is unique indeed.

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