"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." - Salvador Dalí
11 May marks the anniversary of the birthday of one of the most famous surrealist artists in history, Salvador Dalí.
He drew his inspiration from the wild and secluded Costa Brava, with its steep and rocky shoreline, and from the enigmatic landscapes of the Ampurdan region constantly buffeted by the Tramontane, the northerly wind coming off the mountains.
After studying art in Madrid, where he was a contemporary of Luis Buñuel, García Lorca, Rafael Alberti and other figures of the Spanish avant-garde of the 1930s, he exhibited his work in Barcelona, where his paintings and eccentricities made him a celebrity.
In 1928 he moved to Paris, where the Surrealist group of artists and writers were so taken aback by his work that the French poet André Breton declared that Dalí embodied the Surrealist spirit: "the poetic and visionary images of his paintings possess an extraordinary intensity and explosive force." He invented an imaginary world. An authentic landscape of the mind came to the surface through his depictions of "soft" watches, boundless perspectives stretching into infinity, elongated staffs, human limbs exaggerated out of all 'proportion, giraffes bursting into flames, gold coins and other forms that made him a fitting exemplar of the "paranoiac critical" theory embraced so enthusiastically by Freud and the painters and poets of the time, whereby images were brought up from the subconscious mind.
Dalí often claimed that his entire work was a projection of his inner world, the representation of his subconscious, and the obsessions and fantasies of an artist who turned his hand with equal energy to painting, sculpture, literature, drama, stage design, jewellery, film-making, the design of artefacts and public "happenings". The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueras, which was founded in 1974, epitomizes the world of fantasy, theatrical effect and over-brimming imagination inhabited by Salvador Dali, a figure who was a source of interest to poets and artists, filmmakers and scientists, philosophers and politicians, children & adults alike.
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