Surrealism: Getting to Know Salvador Dali

by Jollyon Hooley
(Ft Louis, TX)

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was born in Figueras, Catalonia Spain on May 11, 1904. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and renowned artist of the 20th century. He is widely known for his many outstanding surrealistic artworks.

Throughout the course of his career, he dabbled in printmaking, fashion, sculpture, writing, ads, and even filmmaking. Dali collaborated with the likes of Alfred Hitchock and Luis Bunuel.

Salvador is best described as flamboyant. His major works have the semblance of fellow artists Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. His paintings disclose his growing passion for Classical and Renaissance art.

Dali’s work is often linked with the Surrealist movement, despite his separation from the group due to his radical political views. He made his very first contact with the surrealist artists in Paris 1928. His mentor was Chirico who gave him his foundation for his surrealist philosophies.

His work is often found obsessing about death, decay, and eroticism that reflected heavily his familiarity with and synthesis of the many psychoanalytical schools of thought of his time.

Salvador’s work is rife with fetishes, religious symbols, and animal imagery. There are lots of stuff written about his work and life which are found to be widely influenced by so many artists of his time.

Dali subscribes to Freudian ideologies; he even consumes every possible Freud literature with much gusto and ferocious enthusiasm.

Salvador Dali’s Most Popular Artworks
1928 - Un Chien Andalou


This artwork by Dali is regarded as the very first ever Surrealist film. The still film is set up in a dream-like setting where the images are shown in a series of montage.

The film shows his passion for Surrealism indicating so much shock and violations of the body. Dali was said to be sick for one week after he worked with Bunuel in shooting the scenes. The film can be found at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.

1933 - Retrospective Bust of A Woman

The Retrospective Bust of A Woman is a great example of Dali’s object sculpture where the elements are added via the process of composition and assembly. Dali was so fixated on this artwork it shows sexual repression which he so worked hard to reveal to many people. The whole piece was carefully made on an inkstand and was added with some replica figures from the popular The Angelus painting by Jean-Francois Millet (1857-1859).

1936 - Soft Construction With Boiled Beans

The Soft Construction With Boiled Beans is an artwork which is Dali’s response to the Spanish Civil War from the year 1936-1939, and in the same vein, it is a gruesome display of man’s destruction to their bodies.

Dali created this specific artwork before the dictatorship and invasion of General Franco, however: it predicts the doom, anxiety, and violence that a lot of Spaniards experience during Franco’s harsh dictatorship.

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans is one good example of Salvador Dali’s work that further revealed his rage and sexual obsessions at that time. Indeed, the masterpieces left behind by Dali took the world of art by storm.

Jolly Hooley
May 2016

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