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May 11

Salvador Dali

Dali loved painting double images, as he did in The Hallucinogenic Toreador. At a distance, a viewer might see one image, but close up, another.

Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-114985

1904: The Eccentric Dreamer
Salvador Dali is born in Figueres, Spain
The school of artwork we call Surrealism took a radical leap forward when Salvador Dali teamed up with fellow Surrealists in the late 1920s. The Surrealists were rebelling against what they saw as predictable, traditional art, and Dali—who had already been kicked out of art school and was famous for his eccentric behavior and attire—fit right in.

His artworks—including The Persistence of Memory, with its clocks draped over trees, ledges, and what appears to be a piece of bone with a face not unlike Dali’s own— are filled with quirky images, startling contrasts, and symbolism (meaning that one object stood for something else—an idea, a memory, a concept). But some of his images are surprisingly sentimental: People he loved, like Lucia, a woman who took care of him when he was a child, appear frequently in his art.

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