Which century was Salvador Dali born in?
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, AKA Salvador Dali, was born on May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain. He was the first Marquis of Dali de Púbol.
True or False: Salvador Dali’s older brother died before he himself was born.
Salvador Dali’s brother died before he was born…but the older child still played a strange and powerful role in Salvador’s life. When he was just five years old, his parents brought him to his brother’s grave, and forced him to listen as they explained that Salvador was simply a reincarnation of their first son. That bizarre superstition colored the rest of Dali’s life, profoundly influencing both his work and personal habits.
How did Dali’s grandfather die?
Dali’s paternal grandfather Gal Josep Salvador suffered from mental illness including depression and paranoia. In 1886, the police narrowly prevented him from throwing himself off of his apartment balcony after claiming that thieves were trying to steal his money and kill him. Less than a week later, he did manage to jump and died after hitting his head in the inner patio. The timing was tragic: he was scheduled to go to a mental asylum that very day.
True or False: Hated the concept of selling-out and producing work purely for profit.
Dali wasn’t afraid of a little selling out. He designed lots of logos and advertisements over the course of his career, including the logo for Chupa Chups (the popular Spanish brand of lollipops).
True or False: Dali refused to pay his secretaries a salary.
While he was alive, Dali refused to pay his secretaries a salary, but gave them commissions on his works instead. The lack of a pay cheque didn’t do anything for them at the time, but they collected a fortune later on. It was lucky for them that his paintings were valuable or else they would never have seen a cent!
Which of these options is the name of a Dali painting?
Dali’s famous painting The Persistence of Memory has seeped into multiple areas of pop culture. The melting clocks can be seen in an episode of The Simpsons, in news coverage of the NFL’s Deflategate scandal in 2015, in episodes of Dr. Who… even in Sesame Street!
Which of these options is a famous and enduring symbol featured in Dali’s works?
Ever since he painted them, scholars and critics alike have debated the meaning of Dali’s melting clocks. One theory ties the painting to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, claiming that the soft watches are an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time.
True or False: as a child, Dali once through a friend of his off a bridge.
Like many children, the young Salvador Dali was fascinated with animals. What was worrisome, though, was how his strange and morbid curiosity led him to cruelly experiment with the creatures he found. For example,* Dali once found a wounded bat while he was playing in his backyard. He set the dying creature in a metal bucket overnight, and returned the next day to find the poor animal being consumed by ants.
True or False: There are still paintings that exist from when Dali was just 6 years old.
One of Dali’s earliest paintings was called Landscape Near Figueras, and was painted when he was around six years old. The painting is part of what’s considered to be his “developmental period” and was painted with oils on a 5.5 x 3.5-inch postcard. The painting was pretty basic compared to his later works, but considering that most six-year-olds are still using finger paints, that’s a pretty impressive effort.
True or False: Dali was expelled from school.
When Dali graduated from school, his father insisted that he attend the School of Fine Arts in Madrid to get his teacher’s qualifications. Dali apparently had other ideas, and managed to get himself expelled twice.
What was the name of Dali’s wife?
Dali’s wife, Gala, had a bit of a thing for surrealists. She was said to have had affairs with the French writer Andre Breton, the Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel, and the painter Max Ernst. Ernst was supposedly so in love with her that he featured her in an otherwise all-male portrait of key surrealists.
Dali always loved wild things. At one time in his life, he had a pet named Babou, which he took with him everywhere. What kind of animal was Babou?
Dali always loved wild things. At one time in his life, he had a pet ocelot named Babou, which he took with him everywhere… even to restaurants! When a patron at one restaurant got scared of Babou, Dali told her that he was really just a normal cat that he’d painted over. Sure Dali, we totally believe you.
At the London Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, Dali showed up wearing an absurd costume. What was it?
At the London Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, Dali showed up to deliver a lecture wearing an old-timey deep-sea diving suit to illustrate his subconscious existence. This might have seemed like a really interesting way to make a point, but the suit wasn’t really meant to be worn outside of the water and it got pretty stuffy in there. The entire time he was up there, Dali was actually suffocating inside the suit, but the audience didn’t realize it until he came close to fainting. Luckily, poet David Gascoyne came to the rescue with a wrench to get the bowl off his head.
Dali once appeared on a game show. What was it called?
Believe it or not, Dali also made an appearance on the game show What’s My Line in 1957 as the mystery guest that the blindfolded panelists had to identify. Dali made figuring out his identity particularly challenging by attempting to answer “yes” to every question. In the end, a question about whether or not he had a famous mustache that gave him away.
True or False: Dali had a strange fascination with Hitler.
Thanks to his unnatural interest in Hitler, the members of his surrealist group voted to oust him from the movement. They were pretty ticked off with the swastika that he painted on the armband of a nurse in The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition, and they actually made him paint over it. Dali’s negative portrayal of Lenin in his 1933 work, The Enigma of William Tell, also got their goat, (the group was mostly communists)… but at the end of the day, they were mostly upset about Hitler.
For years, Dali worked on an animated short film with Disney. What was it called?
What could be a more perfect combination than the animation artistry of Walt Disney and Dali’s art? Disney was totally intrigued by Dali’s imagination, and after the release of Fantasia, Disney proposed a collaborative musical short film called Destino. The project would have animated Dali’s work and set it to Mexican folk songs, but it barely got off the ground before it was cancelled. Thankfully, Disney’s nephew Roy picked it up, and the project exists as a six-minute short film—that was released in 2003, a full 58 years after it was first conceived.
True or False: Dali was a huge fan of Pablo Picasso.
Pablo Picasso was one of Salvador Dali’s idols, and in 1926, he traveled to Paris to meet the legendary painter. He told Picasso that he came to see him before he even visited the Louvre, and in 1934, Picasso repaid the favor by paying for Dali to come to New York for his first American exhibition.
True or False: Dali was a notorious drug user all his life.
As difficult as it might be to believe, Dali was not a drug user and did not use any chemicals to induce his hallucinations. He actually managed to maintain his dream-like state by fixating on a specific object until it transformed into something else, bringing on a type of hallucination.
One of Dali’s once collaborated with millionaire Cummins Catherwood to design a...
One of Dali’s once collaborated with millionaire Cummins Catherwood to design a jewelry collection. Catherwood gave Dali millions of dollars in precious stones, and Dali designed a number of pieces. The crown jewel of the collection was called the Royal Heart. The piece is made of pure gold and encrusted with 46 rubies, 42 diamonds, and two emeralds. In true Dali fashion, the piece beats like a real heart, which is both super cool and totally creepy!
Which of these books did Dali take the time to illustrate?
It seems perfectly fitting that Dali would decide to illustrate Lewis Carrol’s surreal novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He illustrated the cover and a single illustration for each chapter, and not surprisingly, the Mad Tea Party scene includes a picture of Dali’s melted clock. The figure of Alice can be found in every image, and the sketches are every bit as trippy as you’d imagine.
True or False: Dali once filled an entire Rolls Royce with heads of cauliflower.
In 1955, Dali showed up at a speech in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflower, for no other reason than that he thought their shape was interesting. Apparently, he wasn’t done with the cauliflowers, and on a different date, he drove through the streets of Paris in a cauliflower-filled limo, much to the confusion of the people who saw him. But I guess confusing people wasn’t exactly rare for Dali.
True or False: Dali’s family hid the truth about his grandfather's death from the public, as well as Salvador himself.
The Dali family were a pretty secretive bunch, and they managed to keep Gal’s suicide out of the papers. Gal’s lawyer son-in-law gave a statement stating that he died of “cerebral traumatism,” which also allowed them to give him a Catholic burial. The family also kept the suicide a secret from Dali and the other grandchildren, as well as the fact that Dali’s father was illegitimate. Secrets never stay secret for long, however, and Dali eventually found out about everything.
True or False: Once bought a castle for his wife.
Dali was hopelessly devoted to Gala… their unusual marriage notwithstanding. He even bought her a castle in 1969.
Sure, a few of those questions got past you… but that’s because we made this as hard as humanly possible. And you still did pretty dang well. Good on you. One thing is absolutely for certain: you’ve done some serious reading.
How could you possibly know all that? Do you ever make a mistake? No wonder you know all these questions. You’ve clearly made a study of the science of love. Well done.
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Salvador Dali was a surrealist painter known for exploring fantasy and the subconscious. His works are strange, thought-provoking, and iconic. He died in 1989, but Dali’s art continues to influence other artists and fascinate viewers all over the world. No other name is so closely tied to the bizarre and the absurd as Dali. So what made this one-of-a-kind artist tick? Time to see if you know...
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