Art has witnessed its own sets of revolutions in the past, and there have been so many changes to how art has been practiced over the years. One of the more popular movements was the shift from realism to surrealism, where the subjects of the artwork become more dream-like, more dependent on the subconscious rather than on the conscious mind. And, among the many defining figures of surrealist art is the painter, Salvador Dalì.
You probably know him as a popular painter and artist, but the truth is, there’s more to the late and great Mr. Salvador Dalì than what meets the eye. Sure, there’s a lot to be said about how attractive his mustache is, but really, Mr. Dalì is made of many, and even more interesting facts. For your reference, here are a few things you might want to know about Salvador Dalì.
- Dalì had a (very early) experience of being a child sadist.
Dalì was someone who believed, even from a very young age, that pain and pleasure was pretty much the same thing, or at least they both come from the same mold of human experience. Because of this, he was constantly amazed at the various possible causes of pleasure and pain, often causing them himself. When he was still five years old, Dalì was walking along a bridge with his friend, and he noticed that there was a missing railing from the bridge. What Dalì did was quite shocking – he decided to throw his friend off the bridge to see what would happen. Needless to say, while his friend survived, he was still badly injured. And as Dalì watched his friend’s mother tend to his terribly hurt friend, Dalì sat calmly, eating cherries.
- Salvador Dalì, a.k.a Avida Dollars
Dalì also prided himself on being a huge moneymaker. And he was also well-known for it, too. Because of this, his name was transformed into the anagram, Avida Dollars. Several stories are told about him and his incessant greed, about how he would be willing to do anything just to make a dollar. Apart from the more popular stories, such as the fact that he made the Chupa Chups logo (yes, that famous and sought-after lollipop of your childhood), he is also known for asking Yoko Ono for $10,000 for one strand of his mustache. When Yoko delivered, Dalì gave her a dried blade of grass instead, fearing she would use the strand for witchcraft purposes.
- Gala – Dalì’s Muse
Dalì met Elena Ivanovna Diakonovna (but more popularly known as Gala) at a time when she was still married to surrealist artist Paul Eluard. But of course, as can be expected from a man and an artist as intense as Dalì, this fact did not perturb him. And so, after Gala divorced Eluard, Dalì became the ultimate rebound guy and married her in 1934. Their partnership was actually good and effective; Gala became Dalì’s muse and finance manager, her financial wisdom a perfect match for Dalì’s extravagant artistry. Although they continued to see other people (it was a complicated, though happy relationship), they stayed together until Gala’s death in 1982.
- Dalì’s Artistic Practices
For someone like Dalì, art seemed to be everything. But when you look at his work and you try to figure out he does it, one of your first thoughts would probably be “Does he resort to drugs?” However, the thing is Dalì had other methods for his artistic process. Dalì spoke of a method involving a tin plate and a spoon. He would sit in a chair, holding the spoon above the plate, and then sleep. As soon as he slept, the spoon would then fall on the tin plate, making a noise loud enough to wake him. Dalì would then be able to write of his dreams, supporting his surrealistic inclinations in his art.
- Dalì’s Acquaintance with Alice Cooper
Dalì was famous for being friends with the rich and famous, which is kind of to be expected, given how unimaginably artistic he was. One of his most interesting friendships was with the rockstar Alice Cooper. On one particular occasion, Dalì asked Cooper to model for him. Cooper relented, but he ended up doing so under armed guard. The reason? Cooper was wearing a diamond studded tiara, worth $2 million, and the tiara was provided by Dalì himself. Of course, the end result was something a little more than just a pretty little thing. Dalì managed to make a hologram of Cooper. This he managed to accomplish by using lasers, thereby capturing a three-dimensional image.
Of course, these five facts are by no means the only interesting facts about Salvador Dalì. There are several other must-know trivia (like how he was actually a huge fan of Hitler, and how Hitler was the subject of many of his works). But for now, it’s probably best to settle with these five facts, and try to see how they all play out in Dalì’s exquisite work as an artist, and as a person, most of all.