As an art student in Madrid and Barcelona, Dalí assimilated a
vast number of artistic styles and displayed unusual technical facility
as a painter.
the late 1920s, two events brought about the development of his mature
discovery of Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of
subconscious imagery; and
His affiliation with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists
and writers who sought to establish the "greater reality"
of man's subconscious over his reason.
To bring up images from his subconscious mind, Dalí began to
induce hallucinatory states in himself by a process he described as
paranoiac critical. Once Dalí hit on this method,
his painting style matured with extraordinary rapidity, and from 1929
to 1937 he produced the paintings that made him the world's best-known
He depicted a dream world in which commonplace objects are juxtaposed,
deformed, or otherwise metamorphosed in a bizarre and irrational fashion.
Dalí portrayed these objects in meticulous, almost painfully
realistic detail and usually placed them within bleak, sunlit landscapes
that were reminiscent of his Catalonian homeland.
the most famous of these enigmatic images is "The Persistence of
Memory" (1931), in which limp, melting watches rest in an eerily
the Spanish director Luis Buñuel, Dalí also made two Surrealistic
Chien andalou (1928; An Andalusian Dog); and
L'Âge d'or (1930; The Golden Age).
Both films are similarly filled with grotesque but highly suggestive
In the late 1930s, Dalí switched to painting in a more academic
style under the influence of the Renaissance painter Raphael, and as
a consequence he was expelled from the Surrealist movement.
he spent much of his time designing theatre sets, interiors of fashionable
shops, and jewelry, as well as exhibiting his genius for flamboyant
self-promotional stunts in the United States, where he lived from 1940
the period from 1950 to 1970, Dalí painted many works with religious
themes, though he continued to explore erotic subjects, to represent
childhood memories, and to use themes centering on his wife, Gala. Notwithstanding
their technical accomplishments, these later paintings are not as highly
regarded as the artist's earlier works.
most interesting and revealing of Dalí's books is The Secret
Life of Salvador Dali (1942-44).