Salvador Dali i Domenech was born on the morning of May 11 by CGs31n1


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Nick Giulietti

Professor Whidden

Art Appreciation 1000


                                      Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali

        Both Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali were born in Spain, and both of them began to draw at an

early age. The two artists lived different lives, but both of them were innovative artists from the twentieth

century. Their innovations reached each other, and their occupations brought them together. Moreover,

their innovations made them recognized by others, and they gained fame and fortune through their

occupations as artists. As each artist’s life progressed, experiences corresponded to stylistic change, and

the two artists are noted for their styles today. Picasso’s style influenced the growth of Dali’s style. Even

though they lived completely different lives, and their styles were different, there are several stylistic

similarities between Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

        “Pablo [Ruiz] Picasso was born on 25 October 1881 in Malaga,” Spain (Loria 7). “Pablo was a

lively child” (Loria7). Because Picasso’s father was an artist, Picasso “learned to draw at a young age”

(Loria 7). Around the age of ten, Picasso went to the Institute of Fine Arts in La Coruna, because that is

“where his father taught” (Loria 7). Three years later Picasso attended the School of Fine Arts in

Barcelona, and two years after that, “he went to Madrid to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of San

Fernando” (Loria 8). Picasso “was disappointed with the teaching methods” at the Academy (Loria 8). At

nineteen year of age, Picasso moved to Paris, where he lived in poverty. Many of Picasso’s paintings

depict the women he fell in love with. Picasso’s poverty ended at the age of twenty-four, because he met

Leo and Gertude Stein, and they found people to buy Picasso’s works. At the age of twenty six, Pablo met

Georges Braque, and together, they started the Cubist movement. Around the same time, “Picasso’s fame

increased abroad too, especially in Germany and the USA” (Loria 25). Picasso married and had a child.

The price of Pablo’s paintings increased, and Picasso became wealthy. His marriage did not last, and he
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had three more children. One child was from a woman named Marie-Therese Walter, and two other

children came from a woman named Francoise Gilot. Picasso was “hounded by journalists and disturbed

by a curious public,” but he moved from house to house, so he could continue his work (Loria 50). “In

1971 the Louvre hosted an exhibition of his work, [which is] an honor not normally bestowed on a living

artist” (Loria 58). At age 91, Picasso died at Mougins, and was buried in the parkland around the chateau

of Vauvenargues.

        “Salvador Dali i Domenech was born on the morning of May 11, 1904 in Figueres,” Spain (Carter

21). Dali “was an unusually sensitive child who suffered deep emotional conflicts” (Carter 21). At the age

of seven, Dali was picked on in public school, and may have been sexually molested by an elderly male

teacher. Also, he learned to draw, and he became interested in Impressionist and Pointillist paintings. At

age twelve, Dali received drawing lessons from “an accomplished artist” (Carter 30). At the age of fifteen,

Dali had his first exhibition, and two years later he attended Madrid’s San Fernando Institute of Fine Arts.

As with Picasso, Dali was disappointed with the teaching techniques of the professors at the Institute.

Dali never acquired a formal arts degree. After spending time in Spanish prison for political reasons, Dali

had homosexual relations with a poet named Federico Garcia Lorca. Around the age of twenty two, Dali

met Picasso in Paris, and “was deeply influenced by his fellow Spaniard” (Carter 44). At the age of

twenty five, Dali helped release a film that propelled his career upward in Paris, and Picasso was at the

premier of the film. Around the same time, Dali met his wife Gala, and joined the Surrealist group. At the

age of thirty, “Dali borrowed five hundred dollars from Picasso to make the trip to New York” (Carter 83).

Dali’s face was on the cover of Time magazine, and “Life magazine reported that Dali, at age 34, had

become the richest young artist” (Carter 92). Dali died of heart failure on January 23, 1989, and he was

buried, as he requested, at his personal museum in his home town of Figueres.

        Pablo Picasso’s style is marked by continuous change. “In fact [,] the number of his stylistic

changes make[s] Picasso unique in the entire history of art” (Editori 3). Instead of being repetitious,
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Picasso went through periods such as the Blue Period, and the Rose Period. During his Blue Period, he

“painted works that were dominated by shades of blue,” and “his subject-matter was the miserable lives

of people shunned by society” (Loria 12). In his Rose Period paintings, “light and various tones of pink

are dominant” (Loria 12). Many of the subjects depicted in Picasso’s Rose Period paintings are circus

performers. Picasso also painted in the Primitive style, which imitates the style of “objects from ancient or

distant cultures” (Loria 20). The Primitive style preceded the creation of the style known as Cubism. The

abstract style of art that is known as Cubism, is defined as “a method of portraying multiple dimensions

onto a two dimensional canvas” (Crosier, Par.2). Moreover, Picasso painted specific types of Cubism,

such as Analytical Cubism, Facet Cubism, Synthetic Cubism, and others. Analytical cubism is “the

breaking down or ‘analysis’ of natural forms into new, arbitrary forms and colors” (Editori 6). In contrast,

forms in Facet Cubism are “splintered into a multiplicity of tiny planes and then reassembled” (Editori 7).

Picasso also painted in the Synthetic Cubism style, which “takes a real object as a kind of theme or idea

on which to improvise and construct” (Editori 10).

        Salvador Dali’s style was quite radical. He “remains the preeminent figure in Surrealism” (Carter

111). According to Weyers’s book, Dali once wrote that he was attempting to create “handmade color

photography of concrete irrationality” (19). He studied the ideals of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, and

gained an understanding of dreams in order to incorporate such knowledge into his style. Being a member

of the Surrealist group, he believed that “the source of all art was the subconscious mind and dreams”

(Weyers 26). Dali created the critical paranoia technique, which is “a systematic misinterpretation of

reality” (Weyers 32). In addition, “he quite consciously translated dreams he had seen into pictures”

(Weyers 32). Dali repeatedly put symbols such as ants, soft clocks and grasshoppers, in many of his

works. The ants symbolize putrefaction or death, the soft clocks represent “the four-dimensional space

time continuum,” and the grasshoppers symbolized his phobias (Weyers 28).

        There are distinct differences between Picasso’s style and Dali’s style. For example, Picasso

didn’t use the same “virtually photorealistic technique” that Dali used (Weyers 18). Dali never went
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through periods similar to Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods, in which particular shades or tones ruled

other colors. Moreover, Picasso didn’t paint from his subconscious and dreams using Dali’s critical

paranoia technique. Instead, Picasso found other sources for his artwork. Dali “always [worked] with the

elemental themes of sexuality and death,” and his themes were “seen through the prism of his own

personal experience and…frame of reference” (Carter 52). Therefore, Picasso’s style is dissimilar to

Dali’s style, because Picasso’s personal experiences were different from Dali’s experiences.

          In some aspects, Dali’s style is similar to Picasso’s style. Dali’s style emerged after Picasso’s

style, and Picasso’s style was an influence on Dali’s style. For instance, “it was mainly Picasso’s

neoclassical works that provided important stimuli for Dali’s stylistic development” (Weyers 18). Dali’s

style was influenced by Picasso’s Cubism as well. In fact, Dali painted his own Cubist works, and called

one of them Cubist Self Portrait.

          Even though Dali’s style developed into Surrealism, his style was still similar to Picasso’s style,

because Surrealism and Cubism are both abstract styles of art. In addition, both styles of art were created

by movements to change art, so both styles were radically new when they were first introduced. Another

stylistic similarity is that both artists allowed particular subjects to reappear in their works. For example,

several of Dali’s paintings depict ants, melting clocks, and grasshoppers; similarly, several of Picasso’s

Rose Period paintings present circus performers.

          Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali were two artists from the twentieth century that are remembered

today. On the way toward gaining recognition, the two Spaniards experienced life, and developed their

styles. Although they met each other, they lived their own lives, and developed quite different styles.

Salvador Dali was just one of the many people that were influenced by Picasso’s style. Even though

Dali’s style is different from Picasso’s style, there are some similarities between the two styles. The two

artists are not alive to continue painting today, but people can still examine their works, and compare their


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