Salvador Dalí was born Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. His father, Salvador Dalí y Cusi, was a lawyer and very strict with young Salvador. His mother, Felipa Domenech Ferres, encouraged his artistic endeavors. Salvador’s sister, Anna Marie, was 3 years younger than he.
When I chose Salvador Dalí for this month I didn’t think there would be a connection between him and Vincent van Gogh but I’m just beginning and already found one. Like van Gogh, Dalí also had an older brother, his namesake, who died about a year before his birth. The older Salvador died of gastroenteritis a few months before his second birthday. The younger Salvador was often told he was the reincarnation of his dead brother.
These are the first few lines in Salvador Dalí's autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. It's kind of a weird, rambling book... I guess it's exactly what you'd expect from Dalí.
It seems Dalí was pretty weird and eccentric even as a child. He claims that he bit the head off a bat when he was five. He threw tantrums, was sometimes violent, and was often severely punished by his father. He began drawing and painting very early on and was encouraged to do so by both his parents. He had his first drawing lessons at age 10 and in his teens enrolled at the Madrid School of Fine Arts.
When Salvador Dalí was 16 (in 1921) his mom died of breast cancer. He was devasted. His father married his mother’s sister. Dalí already had a difficult relatonship with his father and so that certainly didn’t help.
In 1922, Dalí enrolled at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. His eccentricity was notorious there. He kept his hair long and dressed in knee-length britches that earned him the title “dandy.” He experimented with many styles and fell in with a crowd of creatives—artists, poets, filmmakers. In 1926 he was expelled for refusing to be examined in the theory of art and declaring the examiners incompetent to judge him.
Then skipping ahead a bit, I was looking into his pet. Of course Dalí didn’t just have an ordinary housecat, but instead a pet ocelot named Babou. The ocelot accompanied Salvador, on a leash and stone studded collar, almost everywhere from restaurants to boats.
I got started on this portrait of a young Dali this week, also planning to do another portrait of him with the long mustache.
I also read this book this week. There seems to be a whole series of these Art Masters graphic novels, which I love but none are about women artists😐. Several are illustrated by women illustrators though.