Salvador Dali


Quite a lot of my artistic influence came from the famous Spanish, surrealist painter, Salvador Dali, born May 11, 1904 . From the point in which we’d been asked to create characters and world design, I took reference from his fine art background and the way in which he created landscapes and character within them. As I am quite interested in fine art and traditional art practices myself, I found the techniques in which he used whilst creating his paintings to be quite useful within my own practical work.

Something that I found most interesting about Dali’s work was the themes in which he used revolving around time, religion, science, and fantasy. Whilst expressing these themes, Dali still managed to convey his strong technical ability and technique which had been developed and based around other famous masters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Velazquez. Though Dali created bizarre and absurd looking art based on dreams and strange visual concepts, the way in which they had been handled were objectively well painted and tonally believable.  The artist had been trained under the influence of fellow local Spanish artist, Ramon Pichot. Pichot practised in the style of Renaissance art, a style in which Dali clearly utilized and manipulated, whilst he was also interested in the style of impressionism. Additionally to impressionism and Renaissance style art, the artist also took great influence from Dadaism and Cubism, precursors to Surrealism, whilst attending San Fernando Academy of Fine Art.
Above image: ‘Caberet Scene’ (1922) seems to be considered one of the more notable pieces of work Dali created during his early period. The painting shows his influences within cubism.

Above image: ‘The Basket of Bread’ (1926) conveys Dali’s ability to realistically portray forms and paint them in a renaissance inspired fashion.

Above image: ‘Honey Is Sweeter Than Blood’ (1927) appears to be a significant image in conveying Dali’s change in artistic style to something more similar for what he is recognised.

During the 1950s, Dali entered into what some called the ‘Nuclear Mysticism’ phase. This is a period in Dali’s life which was significantly impacted by new discovery’s within physics and also the traditions of Roman Catholicism. The paintings in which the artist produced during this time held strong commentary on famous biblical figures; these figures were juxtaposed with mathematical structures alongside objects defying the laws of physics. Additionally, these famous religious figures were placed within controversial scenes in which their characters would not have originally been depicted.

Above image: ‘The Temptation of St Anthony’ (1946) This image conveys the theme of religion within Dali’s work during this time in his life and how he handled the subject.

Above image:’Crucifixion’ 1954 This image depicts how Dali developed the theme of religion within his work.

What draws me to the work of Dali is his ability to create such abstracted forms whilst depicting them in a realistic manner. In particular for my projects requiring me to construct a world or characters within one, I felt that his reference could guide the ideas I had trapped in my own mind, and transform them in a visual art form for others.

Whilst being involved in the project during the brief to create characters, I knew I wanted to depict my characters in a setting that was suitable. The project in which I had inherited for this section was set in a post-apocalyptic world in which physical human bodies had been transformed into tree creatures, and the souls of these humans had manifested as shadow creatures. I felt that this created quite an isolated, dark setting during the midst of an existential crisis; a setting I felt Dali’s art shared.

Within his painting The Persistence of Memory (1931), and others such as ‘Landscape with Butterflies’ (1956), or ‘Sleep’ (1937), Dali depicts his subjects in a desert-like, isolated area; similar to a post apocalyptic world. These paintings all focus on individuals and exclude groups of other beings; as if there is no one else in the surrounding area. I thoroughly enjoyed Dali’s use of tone, colour and setting for these three works in particular, alongside others typical of his art style. Looking at these paintings as individual works of art, it’s clear that all of the subjects are alone, held captive, or are deeply in despair; this is conveyed through expression, the subjects hiding within the shadows, or being physically held down by some form of force. All of which, I found highly useful for my designs for the ‘Build a World’ project.

Above image: ‘Landscape with Butterflies’ (1956)
‘The Persistence of Memory’ (1931)

‘Sleep’ (1937)

Furthermore, I found some of Dali’s more distorted, darker work useful whilst creating my own backdrop and character design. Once again, through colour, facial expression, twisted form, and unsettling imagery, Dali clearly conveys the despair and melancholy within his paintings- traits in which I hoped to convey within my own work.

Below are examples of this type of work:

Above image:’The Burning Giraffe’ (1937)

Above Image:’Swan reflecting elephants’ (1937)

Above image: ‘Spider of the Evening’ (1940)

Above image: ‘The Face of War’ (1941)


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