Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali I Domènech (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989) was a Spanish surrealist artist known for his technical competence, accurate draftsmanship, and his work’s startling and unusual visuals.
Dali was born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, and had his official art education in Madrid. From an early age, he was influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters, and he grew more interested in Cubism and avant-garde movements.
In the late 1920s, he became more interested in Surrealism and joined the Surrealist group in 1929, quickly becoming one of its prominent exponents. The Persistence of Memory, his most renowned piece, was created in August 1931 and is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings.
Dali spent the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) in France before moving to the United States in 1940, where he found economic success.
In 1948, he went to Spain, where he declared his return to the Catholic faith and established his “nuclear mysticism” style, which was inspired by his interests in classicism, mysticism, and modern scientific advancements.
Dali’s creative repertory comprised painting, graphic arts, cinema, sculpture, design, and photography, which he worked on alongside other artists at times. He also authored poetry, fiction, autobiography, essays, and criticism.
Dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science, and his closest personal connections are all major topics in his writing.
Salvador Dali Most Famous Paintings
1. The Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory is a 1931 artwork by Salvador Dali that is well recognized as a masterpiece of Surrealism.
The artwork was first presented at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932 and has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City since 1934, when it was given to the museum by an unidentified donor.
It is well-known and regularly mentioned in popular culture, and is occasionally referred to by more descriptive terms such as “Melting Clocks,” “The Soft Watches,” or “The Melting Watches.”
Dali returned to the theme of this painting with the variation The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1954), which depicted his earlier famous work systematically fragmenting into smaller component elements, as well as a series of rectangular blocks that reveal additional imagery through the gaps between them, implying something beneath the surface of the original work.
The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida presently houses this piece, whereas the original Persistence of Memory is housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Late in his career, Dali also created lithographs and sculptures based on the concept of soft timepieces. Persistence of Memory, Nobility of Time, Profile of Time, and Three Dancing Watches are among the sculptures.
2. Metamorphosis of Narcissus
Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) is an oil-on-canvas work by Dali that shows his rendition of the Greek fable of Narcissus. It was originally named Métamorphose de Narcisse. Dali started painting in the spring of 1937 in Zürs, Austria, amid the Austrian Alps.
According to Greek mythology, Narcissus’ beauty attracted practically everyone who saw him, and both men and women followed him, but he turned down all approaches.
One of his fans, a nymph called Echo, fell passionately in love with him and faded away when he rejected her, leaving just her voice. Taking pity on Echo, the goddess Nemesis persuaded Narcissus to look into a pool.
Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection after seeing his own face mirrored in the water. Narcissus faded away because he was unable to accept his own image, and in his place sprouted the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.
Dali’s painting portrays Narcissus crouching by a lake, his head resting on his knee, and a stone hand grasping an egg mimicking the contour of his body on the right.
A narcissus bloom grows from the split egg. A group of Narcissus’ spurned suitors stands in the painting’s middle ground. A third Narcissus figure is resting among the mountains in the backdrop.
3. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening
The painting’s full title is Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, although a shorter variant title is Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee.
It was created in 1944, and the lady in the artwork, who seems to be sleeping, is thought to depict his wife, Gala. The picture is presently on display in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
This “hand-painted dream snapshot,” as Dali referred to his works, depicts a coastline with vast horizons and tranquil waves, maybe Port Lligat, with Gala as the focus of the image.
Dali displays two suspended drops of water and a pomegranate, a Christian symbol of fertility and resurrection, next to the nude figure of the sleeping lady, which levitates atop a flat rock floating above the sea. A bee, a creature that typically represents the Virgin, hovers above the pomegranate.
In the top left corner of the artwork, what seems to be a yelloweye rockfish breaks out of the pomegranate, spewing forth a pouncing tiger preparing to assault Gala and a rifle with a bayonet about to sting her in the arm.
Above them is Dali’s first usage of an elephant with long flamingo legs, which may be seen in subsequent works like The Temptation of St. Anthony. The elephant holds an obelisk on its back, which was inspired by Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk in Rome’s Piazza Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
4. Lobster Telephone
The Lobster Telephone (also known as the Aphrodisiac Telephone) is a Surrealist artefact designed by Salvador Dali in 1936 for the English poet and surrealist art collector Edward James (1907–1984).
Dali teased in his 1942 book The Secret Life of Salvador Dali about why, when he ordered for a grilled lobster at a restaurant, he was never given a boiled telephone.
The piece is a mash-up of a standard functioning telephone with a plaster lobster. It measures roughly 15 30 17 cm (6 12 6.6 inches).
This is a typical Surrealist object, created by combining objects that are not generally connected with one other, resulting in something both whimsical and scary. Dali thought that such things may expose the unconscious’s hidden wants.
Dali associated lobsters and phones with sexual overtones. The telephone occurs in paintings such as Mountain Lake from the late 1930s, while the lobster appears in drawings and patterns, frequently connected with sensual pleasure and suffering.
5. The Great Masturbator
The Great Masturbator (1929) is a Salvador Dali artwork from the surrealist era that is presently on exhibit in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
The painting’s center features a deformed human face in profile facing downwards, based on the shape of a natural rock formation near Cap de Creus on Catalonia’s seashore.
A similar profile may be found in Dali’s more renowned work, The Persistence of Memory, which was completed two years later.
There have been comparisons to Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. The Great Masturbator resembles a picture on the right side of the left panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights, which is made up of rocks, plants, and small creatures that resemble a face with a large nose and long eyelashes.
Dali retained the picture in his personal collection, which was shown at the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres until his death, when it was transferred to the Madrid museum.
6. Swans Reflecting Elephants
Swans Reflecting Elephants (1937) is a picture by Dali during his paranoid-critical era. It is an oil on canvas painting depicting one of Dali’s renowned double images. Dali’s “paranoia-critical technique,” which he proposed in his 1935 article “The Conquest of the Irrational,” included the use of double images.
He described his approach as a “spontaneous way of irrational cognition based on the interpretive critical connection of delirious experiences.” Dali employed this technique to create the hallucinogenic shapes, double images, and visual illusions that dominated his paintings throughout the 1930s.
Swans Reflecting Elephants, like the previous Metamorphosis of Narcissus, utilizes a lake’s reflection to produce the double image shown in the picture. In Metamorphosis, Narcissus’ reflection is employed to mirror the contour of the hand on the right of the image.
The three swans in front of dismal, leafless trees are mirrored in the lake, such that the swans’ necks form elephant trunks, the swans’ bodies become elephant ears, and the trees become elephant legs.
7. The Temptation of St. Anthony
The Temptation of St. Anthony was painted in 1946, and it is considered a predecessor to the corpus of Dali’s work known as the “classical phase” or the “Dali Renaissance.”
Many surrealistic aspects are included in the artwork, which is characteristic of his work. It was significant since it was the first of his works to show his interest in the intermediaries between Heaven and Earth. The picture is presently housed in Brussels, Belgium, in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
The title, The Temptation of St. Anthony, hints to the painting’s significance and symbolism. Various temptations occur to Saint Anthony in this picture (the naked man in the painting). One of them is represented as a horse, symbolizing power and voluptuousness.
The elephant’s shape, carrying on its back the golden cup of passion in which a naked lady stands, accentuates the composition’s sensual aspect.
The other elephants are carrying structures on their backs; the first is hauling an obelisk inspired by Bernini’s in Rome, while the second and third are carrying Palladian-style Venetian edifices.
The animal parade is the painting’s main point since it is the biggest feature, drawing the viewer’s attention to temptation.
In the backdrop, another elephant lifts a great structure with phallic connotations, while in the sky, a few parts of the Escorial, a symbol of temporal and spiritual order, can be seen.
Saint Anthony must resist all temptations by using his cross to fend off the vision. The saint appears nude, implying his vulnerability and contrasting it with the strength of the cross, which must vanquish his temptation.
8. The Elephants
Dali’s elephants are a reoccurring topic in his works, first appearing in his 1944 piece Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, as well as The Temptation of Saint Anthony and Swans Reflecting Elephants.
The Elephants differs from the other paintings in that the animals are the primary focus of the work, with a barren graduated background and lack of other content, whereas most of Dali’s paintings contain a great deal of detail and points of interest (for example, Swans Reflecting Elephants, which is slightly more well-known within Dali’s repertoire than The Elephants). The stork-legged elephant is one of Dali’s most well-known works.
9. Christ of Saint John of the Cross
Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a 1951 artwork that is at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.
It represents Jesus Christ on the cross floating above a body of water under a black sky, complete with a boat and fisherman.
Although it depicts the crucifixion, it lacks nails, blood, and a crown of thorns because Dali was persuaded by a dream that these aspects would detract from his representation of Christ.
The significance of presenting Christ at the extreme angle shown in the artwork was also given to him in a dream.
Dali had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders hanging from an above gantry to examine how the body would look from the required perspective and to imagine the force of gravity on the human body in order to construct the image of Christ. The body of water represented is the bay of Port Lligat, Dali’s home at the time of the painting.
10. The Burning Giraffe
The Burning Giraffe (1937) is an oil painting on panel that is on display in the Kunstmuseum Basel.
Before his exile in the United States from 1940 to 1948, Dali painted Burning Giraffe. Although Dali professed himself apolitical (“I am Dali, and only Dali”), this artwork depicts his personal struggle with the conflict in his own country.
A giraffe with its back on fire can be seen in the distance. Dali utilized the burning giraffe motif for the first time in his 1930 film L’ge d’Or (The Golden Age). It reappears in the 1937 painting The Invention of Monsters. This artwork was characterized by Dali as “the macho cosmic apocalyptic monster.” He saw it as a sign of impending conflict.
What is Salvador Dali's most famous painting called? ›
The Persistence of Memory is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of twentieth century art. It is not only the most famous painting of Salvador Dali but also the most renowned artwork in Surrealism.Where are Dali's most famous paintings? ›
Most of his paintings are housed in Spain at the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, the Salvador Dalí House in Port Lligat, and the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol. We have previously taken a look at the most emblematic works of great artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.When was Salvador Dali most famous? ›
His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931, and is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings. Dalí lived in France throughout the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) before leaving for the United States in 1940 where he achieved commercial success.What are Salvador Dali's most expensive paintings? ›
5: Portrait of Paul Eluard
This painting is the most expensive Salvador Dali artwork ever sold to date, bringing in a whopping 22.5 million dollars at a Sotheby's art auction in 2011.
Salvador Dalí's work has been offered at auction multiple times, with realized prices ranging from 4 USD to 21,743,488 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork.What is Salvador Dali's most famous quote? ›
“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”Who painted the scream? ›
The National Museum in Oslo holds one of the world's most important collections of paintings by Edvard Munch, including such iconic works as "The Scream". These works are available for the public in The National Museum.Which is a masterpiece by Dalí? ›
Understanding “The Persistence of Memory,” Salvador Dalí's Surrealist Masterpiece. The Persistence of Memory (1931) by Spanish artist and Surrealist icon Salvador Dalí is one of the rare works of art that can be conjured with the mention of two simple words: melting clocks.What was Salvador Dali's first painting? ›
Dali created his first painting in 1910; it was entitled Landscape Near Figueras. This is his earliest known work. The painting is quite exquisite for a small child and features mountains beyond a vanishing point, as well as different brush strokes to create depth and movement.What's the most expensive painting in the world? ›
This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The current record price is approximately US$450.3 million (which includes commission), paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi in November 2017.
What is the most expensive painting sold in the world? ›
The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold
The most valuable painting in history must surely be the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Although it is considered priceless, we can determine some numerical value by looking at the insurance value of the painting. In 1962 the masterpiece was assessed at a value of $100 million.
What is this? Salvator Mundi is the most expensive painting by Leonardo da Vincent and is privately owned b the crown prince of Saudi Arabia- Muhammad bin Salman. This renaissance was sold for $450 million.
Mona Lisa, Paris
It is no surprise that the number one painting on our list is the famous Mona Lisa. The enigmatic painting of the smiling woman painted by the greatest Leonardo da Vinci dates back to 1503 to 15019.
Mona Lisa (da Vinci)
Widely considered to be the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa has delighted onlookers ever since it was painted in the early 1500s by Leonardo da Vinci.
Salvador Dali paintings are extremely valuable, with paintings often fetching millions of dollars at Auction. Even his smaller pieces, prints, and films can sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.How much is the Mona Lisa worth 2017? ›
The Mona Lisa is believed to be worth more than $850 million, taking into account inflation.Who said I don't do drugs i am drugs? ›
Salvador Dali Quotes - I don't do drugs, I am drugs - Wall Clock.What are famous artist quotes? ›
“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” – Salvador Dali. “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” – Francis Bacon. “To create one's own world takes courage.” – Georgia O'Keeffe. “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” – Auguste Rodin.How do you draw a Scream? ›
How to draw The Scream - (VERY EASY STEPS!) - YouTubeWhy is the Mona Lisa so famous? ›
The writers of the 19th century aroused interest in the Mona Lisa, but the theft of the painting in 1911 and the ensuing media frenzy brought it worldwide attention.
Who stole The Scream? ›
The gang was led by Pål Enger, who was sentenced to 6 years and three months in prison. Enger was no stranger to art theft: he had already spent four years in prison in the late 1980s for the theft of another Munch artwork, The Vampire.What is the most famous masterpiece in the world? ›
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
It's the masterpiece of all masterpieces, the most famous, most discussed and most enigmatic of all paintings. It's the portrait of a woman, said to be named Lisa Gherardini, painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506.
- Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci. ...
- The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo. ...
- Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh. ...
- The Scream – Edvard Munch. ...
- Girl with a pearl earring – Johannes Vermeer.
The One Million Masterpiece (abbreviated OMM) is the largest artistic collaboration ever attempted.Why did Dalí paint eyes? ›
Utilizing what he called “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling,” Dalí claimed that he made this painting with “the most imperialist fury of precision,” but only “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” An unreal, deceptive, or misleading appearance or image.Why did Dalí paint their eggs? ›
Dali made another unexpected association with the two fried eggs on the plate. He wanted to pay homage to his beloved Gala, but instead of a conventional portrait, he chose to depict the two egg yolks on the plate with a passion that suggested two staring eyes. Gala inspired many Surrealists.How many Dalí paintings are there? ›
Salvador Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings over the course of his career. He also produced illustrations for books, lithographs, designs for theater sets and costumes, a great number of drawings, dozens of sculptures, and various other projects, including an animated short film for Disney.What are the 10 most valuable paintings? ›
|1. Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon||2. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II by Gustav Klimt|
|3. The Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein||4. Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt|
Marca reports that as per Stéphane Distinguin, the CEO of the technology company Fabernovel, the Mona Lisa would be sold for nothing less than €50,000 million in 2022. In dollars, that's $53,729,008.08. However, another conflicting report claims that back in 1962, the painting's price was assessed at $100 million.How much is the 8 Mona Lisa worth? ›
Mona Lisa's Record Valuation
In 1962, The Mona Lisa received a valuation of $100m. If you account for inflation, she's worth over $834m in today's money.
What's the most expensive paint color? ›
Google "the most expensive pigment" and you'll find that Lapis Lazuli is believed to be the most expensive pigment ever created. It was pricier than its weight in gold.Who owns the Mona Lisa 2021? ›
It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic. It has been on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris since 1797.Can I buy the Mona Lisa? ›
Truly priceless, the painting cannot be bought or sold according to French heritage law. As part of the Louvre collection, "Mona Lisa" belongs to the public, and by popular agreement, their hearts belong to her.What are the 5 most expensive paintings in the world? ›
- Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, c.1500. ...
- Interchange by Willem de Kooning, 1955. ...
- The Card Players by Paul Cézanne, 1892-93. ...
- Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) ...
- Number 17A by Jackson Pollock, 1948.
Dali created his first painting in 1910; it was entitled Landscape Near Figueras. This is his earliest known work. The painting is quite exquisite for a small child and features mountains beyond a vanishing point, as well as different brush strokes to create depth and movement.What was the title of Dali's last painting? ›
The Swallow's Tail — Series of Catastrophes (French: La queue d'aronde — Série des catastrophes) was Salvador Dalí's last painting. It was completed in May 1983, as the final part of a series based on the mathematical catastrophe theory of René Thom.What is Salvador Dali's artistic style called? ›
Salvador Dalí was a Spanish Surrealist painter and printmaker known for exploring subconscious imagery.What is Dali's style called? ›
Nevertheless, he sought to fulfill the needs of his mental and social life through a new form of art. This new style of art was Surrealism that allowed Dali to express all of his “erotic desires” and at the same time change the way the world viewed art.Who painted the scream? ›
The National Museum in Oslo holds one of the world's most important collections of paintings by Edvard Munch, including such iconic works as "The Scream". These works are available for the public in The National Museum.Why did Dali paint eyes? ›
Utilizing what he called “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling,” Dalí claimed that he made this painting with “the most imperialist fury of precision,” but only “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” An unreal, deceptive, or misleading appearance or image.
Why did Dali paint their eggs? ›
Dali made another unexpected association with the two fried eggs on the plate. He wanted to pay homage to his beloved Gala, but instead of a conventional portrait, he chose to depict the two egg yolks on the plate with a passion that suggested two staring eyes. Gala inspired many Surrealists.What do Dali's paintings represent? ›
Dalí's art drew from his everyday life and extracted seemingly arbitrary things such as infinite desert plains, marble statues, bicycles or telephones and used them as icons where through their isolation they became symbols for deeper emotional themes.Where is the painting of the Last Supper? ›
One of the world's most famous and fascinating paintings - much analysed, admired and often the subject of books and films - Leonardo da Vinci's Cenacolo (The Last Supper) is located in Milano, in the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites.Where is Dali's melting clock painting? ›
Salvador Dalí's surrealist masterpiece The Persistence of Memory (1931) showcases one of the artist's most iconic motifs: melting clocks. On permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the hallucinatory painting features the limp clocks draped across branches, furniture, and even a sleeping human face.What means Surrealism? ›
Definition of surrealism
: the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations.
Salvador Dali used surrealism and symbolism in his painting style. He was influenced by Freud's psychological theories and often tried to tap into his subconscious so he could paint images. He created a technique called the paranoiac-critical method to induce irrational thought while painting.Who created Surrealism? ›
Officially consecrated in Paris in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism by the poet and critic André Breton (1896–1966), Surrealism became an international intellectual and political movement.Why did Dali use lobsters? ›
Dalí believed bringing them together could reveal secret desires. For him, both lobsters and telephones were connected with sex. This work is a classic example of a surrealist object. The surrealists promoted the idea that art could reflect the mysteries of the unconscious mind.What style of painting is Salvador? ›
Salvador DalíWhat is modern art period? ›
Modern art includes artistic work produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophies of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation.