Although Salvador Dali remains one of the most famous painters of the 20th century, his works arouse both some admiration and blame. Philistines consider him mad, untalented or a pseudo-artist, while his thousands of paintings inspire millions of visitors in major world museums. The opposites come from the fact that surrealism is not a genre of art everyone understands at the first glance, it is actually a long-term process of gaining its context and essence. Surrealism shows an irrational, unknown and unconscious world, which is outside our awareness. Here is why at first glance, a piece can appear utterly mad, a crazy vision of a chaotic mind. On a closer inspection, however, it proves to contain artistic and philosophical complexities far beyond the expected.
"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad" - Salvador Dali (1904-1989), and the accusation of the painter seems even more inaccurate and groundless, as he was not limited to a particular artistic style or media like those of surrealism or impressionism. The major part of his works from early impressionist paintings through his transitional surrealist works, and into his classical period, reveals a constantly growing and evolving artist. Dali worked in all media, leaving to the humankind a heritage of oils, watercolors, drawings, graphics and sculptures, films, photographs, performance pieces, jewels and objects of all descriptions.
A ponderable argument for the artist genius is that each true artist is mad in one or another way. An artist has qualities, an intuition, features of character and a style of life, allowing him to be more sensitive and sensible; he develops an extraordinary personality and individuality extrinsic to a common person. What about Vincent Van Gogh, an archetypical tortured artistic genius and his obsession with painting, combined with mental illness? Probably, Steven King is also mad, as his books are inspired by horror and fantasy.....
Look at and try to understand some of Salvador Dali's paintings, dating to different periods of his life. Compare classic with surrealist (the first are latter), connect them with the author's biography (the best way to do it is to read Salvador Dali's autobiography the Secret Life of Salvador Dali), or see the picture as a fruit of the painter's imagination and imagery. His best known surrealistic painting is The Persistence of Memory, other surrealistic grotesques include Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) and Daddy Longlegs of the Evening; The Hallucinogenic Toreador, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and The Vision of Hell are referred to his classic period, when Salvador Dali worked on scientific, religious and historic themes.
The largest collections of Dali's works are at the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, followed by the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Salvador Dali Gallery in Pacific Palisades, California. "La Caixa" Foundation and Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation organize exhibitions and major Salvador Dali events in Barcelona and Madrid as well as maintain regular publications, revealing the painter's profound impact on the world of art.