Salvador Dalí was born with the full title of Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain, located 16 miles from the French border in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains.
The early 1900’s was incredibly varied depending on one’s country and city or country life. Generally in the U.S. for the first few of decades of the twentieth century. Most of the population in rural areas had no electricity or telephones, and very few paved roads. No electricity meant no refrigeration and limited light after dark. No telephones and no paved roads meant very limited mobility. Train travel was somewhat common. Mass production of automobiles began to change that in the late 1920’s but was that trend was interrupted by the stock market crash and ensuing debacle of the great depression. The twentieth century was a period of great change in Spain, where Dalí was brought up. The monarchy gave way to Primo de Rivera's dictatorship and then to the Second Spanish Republic. Franco came to power after the end of the Civil War and governed in Spain through a military dictatorship until his death in 1975.
Dalí was encouraged to practice his art by his mother especially, and would eventually go on to study at an academy in Madrid, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. In the 1920s, he went to Paris and began interacting with artists such as Picasso, Magritte and Miró, which led to Dalí's first Surrealist phase.
Surrealism is a movement in art and literature that flourished in the early twentieth century. Surrealism aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from conscious rational control. Salvador Dalí was an influential surrealist painter; and others such as Jean Cocteau who was a master of surrealist film expressed surrealism in other forms of art.
He is perhaps best known for his 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory, showing melting clocks in a landscape setting. The rise of fascist leader Francisco Franco in Spain led to the artist's expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that didn't stop him from painting.
In his time, Dalí was extremely well-respected and viewed as a very skilled and influential artist. He died on 23 January 1989 (age 84) in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.
Salvador Dalí was significant in both the 20th and 21th century mainly because he provided the world incredible pieces of artwork such as paintings and sculptures, but more importantly he sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination. "Disdaining rationalism and literary realism, and powerfully influenced by psychoanalysis, the Surrealists believed the rational mind repressed the power of the imagination, weighting it down with taboos" (The Art Story). "Surrealism allows us to see art in it's purest form because it stems from imagination rather than rational thought" (A&E Networks Television). Because of this, artists are able to better express their emotions and thoughts through this art form.
"Surrealism Movement, Artists and Major Works." The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
"Why Is Surrealism Important?" Why Is Surrealism Important? - Quora. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
Brandt, William Paul. "How Was Life during the Early 1900s?" Quora. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Salvador Dalí." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.