Dictionary of Art and Artists


that Changed the World


  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  

From Lascaux to Warhol

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats




The Paranoid-Critical Camembert

Into the subconscious with Salvador Dali



You can be sure that my famous soft watches are nothing other than the affectionate, extravagant, lonely, paranoid-critical Camembert of time and space.

Salvador Dali, The Conquest of the Irrational, 1935



Salvador Dali

Gala and Salvador Dali


A ghost which can be used as a table, a skull copulating with a concert grand piano, fried eggs riding or a mournful mirror: the world that appears in Salvador Dali's pictures is certainly bizarre. He has been criticised for this, frequently and severely- He was regarded as neurotic, perverse and mad. One of the more harmless epithets applied to him "an erotomaniac eccentric". None of this bothered him in the least.

At twenty-five, the eccentric Catalonian fell in love with Elena Diakonova. He called her "Gala" and, no less scandalous than he, she shared the rest of his life. He found ingenious ways of wooing her: he cut his best shirt so short that his navel showed, turned his trousers inside out, died the hairs m his armpits bright blue and smeared his body with a mixture of fishpaste, goat dung and aspic. Just before Gala entered the house, he washed off the stinking mess, changed his clothes and collapsed at her feet, laughing hysterically. She found him repulsive, but by the end of that year she vowed: "My little boy! We'll never leave each other!"

Dali - a boy who never grew up. Spoilt by his permissive mother, he conducted sadistic experiments, and his school reports were so bad that, as a biographer relates, his parents were devastated. However, all these ploys safeguarded his boundless creativity, which drew on an inexhaustible imagination, from outside intervention. He became one of the great visionaries of the Surrealist movement and modern painting.

Influenced by Freudian psychology and inspired by his own subconscious, he captured the irrational world of his dreams, visions and hallucinations on canvas with meticulous objectivity. Making a fetish of detail, he wrote books about everything he was doing and created ballet sets and film scenarios teeming with his grotesque motifs. Dali was certainly a self-obsessed megalomaniac and a choleric one at that. He was both an anarchist and an admirer of monarchy, and has been accused of having fascist tendencies. He publicly proclaimed his right to be insane. Yet he is supposed to have drawn on mundane reality for at least some of his inspiration. The story has it that he painted The Persistence of Memory after having eaten Camembert.


Salvador Dali
The Persistence of Memory


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