"There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad."
Artwork by Sabaridas
The Greatest Work of Art
His entire life was a piece of art that metamorphosed with time. Everything he said, everything he wrote and everything he painted was a just a part of a bigger art that he gifted to the world. His ability to stand out and his constant curiosity that made him explore various genres and forms. His book, The Secret Life, is an example of how Dali refused to live a life that was offered to him and rather made a life of his own. His multidisciplinary mastery and his lavish lifestyle was a statement that Dali threw at the world. He broke the normality of art and brought in something exciting that the audience would be shocked, he did it with his paintings and he did it with his life.
Dali was born on May 11th 1904 to Felipa Domenech and Salvador Dali Cusi. Dali was adored and loved by his family, especially his mother. His older brother died at a very young age before Dali was born. The family believed that Salvador Dali was an incarnation of his younger brother. When Dali was five years old, they took him to his brothers grave and told him that he was the incarnation of his brother. He seemed to have believed so even in the later stages of his life. He says in his book ‘My brother and I resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections. Like myself he had the unmistakable facial morphology of a genius. He gave signs of alarming precocity, but his glance was veiled by the melancholy characterizing insurmountable intelligence. I, on the other hand, was much less intelligent, but I reflected everything.’
Dali’s life as an artist began when he was 12 years old, he went to stay with his family friends. There, he met Ramon Pichot who was an established impressionist painter who introduced him to the world of impressionism. Ramon Pichot also convinced Salvador Dali’s father to send him in the municipal drawing school in Figueres. There, Salvador Dali met his mentor Juan Nunez.
Dali’s transformation came with his involvement at The Resi which was run by Alberto Jimenez Fraud. Dali met people that shared his ideas, he was a part of an intellectual group that had filmmaker Luis Bunuel and poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Dali adopted the luxurious lifestyle. And later on his marriage to Gala and moving to Paris also changed his way of thinking. He changed from impressionism to cubism and then eventually to surrealism.
His greatest act of surrealism was when during the trial with the surrealists wearing layers of clothes with a thermometer in his mouth or delivering a lecture in a wet suite walking two grey hounds. He dedicated his life to showing the surreal in the real. He narrowed the line between what we call the subconscious and the conscious. And he touched upon not just paintings, he worked on surrealistic objects, exhibitions, writings, and inventions. He was an intellectual eccentric who conquered everything that he wanted. His life was an dreamy illusion that he brought into existence.
Written by: Tom J Pulickan