Few with even a passing knowledge of the art world are likely not to have heard of Salvador Dali, the eccentric and avant-garde exponent of the Surrealist movement. Love him or loathe him, Dali's work has achieved enduring worldwide fame as his name and work have become virtually synonymous with Surrealism itself. The artist's melting clock image is surely one of the most iconic paintings of the art world, whilst Dali's antics have become the stuff of anecdotes.
Born into a middle-class family in the Catalonian town of Figueres in north-eastern Spain, Dali (or Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali Domenech, to give him his full name) aimed high from the beginning. In the artist's 1942 autobiography entitled 'The Secret Life of Salvador Dali', the artist wrote: 'At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.' Such ambition and self-belief matured into full-blown arrogance in later years. An example of this is amply shown on an occasion when the artist felt the examiners of the Madrid Academy he was attending were well below par.
To a degree, his undeniably impressive and precocious talent excused his conceit. He was only 14 when his first works were exhibited as part of a show in Figueres. Then three years later he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, in Madrid. However, it wasn't long before Dali's highly developed sense of self-worth (or conceit, depending on how you view the artist) came to the fore and also affected the course of his life. Believing himself way superior to the Academy tutors, who nevertheless refused to grant him a degree, the rebellious artist left for Paris. There he hoped to avail himself of knowledge that he believed his tutors were not adequate to impart. He soon made the acquaintance of the French surrealists Jean Arp, Rene Magritte and Max Ernst and this would prove a turning point in Dali's artistic life.
Already familiar with the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, Dali was to witness how the French surrealists were attempting to capture Freud's ideas in paint. The whole world of the unconscious sublimated into dreams was to become the content of these artists' work and later that of Dali's, too. International acclaim followed shortly after. In 1933 he enjoyed solo exhibitions in Paris and New York City, becoming, as one exhibition curator put it, 'Surrealism's most exotic and prominent figure'. Praise continued to be heaped on Dali as French poet and critic, Andre Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement gave the artist his blessing to continue carrying the torch for the artistic movement, writing that Dali's name was 'synonymous with revelation in the most resplendent sense of the word'.
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-E, below.
A----of certain limitations in his artistic skills that became evident in his later works.
B----opened Dali's eyes to the psychoanalytic movement, the ideas of which he then incorporated into his works.
C----his artistic studies needed to be supplemented by going to Paris to meet the Surrealist artists.
D----dome art critics are less impressed with his work than the general public.
E-----inspired Dali to focus on the psychoanalytic content of his artwork.
Write the correct letter, A-E, next to questions 11-13.
11 _______ Dali displayed a precocious talent from an early age; however, he was aware
12 _______ Encountering the French Surrealist painters in Paris
13 _______ Dali’s artistic legacy is secure although