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Salvador Dali: Insane or Genius?

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 114

One of the most controversial painters in art history is Salvador Dali. His excentric lifestyle and behaviour is almost a legend.

One might say that the excentric life of Dali is quite well mirrored in his works! Be this as it may - at least many people have asked the question: Was Dali a madman?

An English scholar from Oxford University, Caroline Murphy, made an attempt to diagnose the famous artist. After a thorough study she concluded that Dali may have suffered from personality disorders like schizophrenia and paranoia.

It seems that there are good reasons to make this conclusion. He often had hallucinations. In his childhood he was talking to imaginary friends. His temper was uncontrolled, and already as a little boy he was able to terrorize his family.

He also suffered from several phobias. His fear of grasshoppers is the best known.

Apparently he suffered from narcissistic megalomania. He opens his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali with the following statement: "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily since."

Precisely this very autobiography is a quite interesting aspect of this subject, because it surely is a weird book! Dali describes a lot of strange incidents and reveals his modus vivendi and a way of thinking which many people would probably abhor. At the same time one can't help asking the question: Is Dali really telling us the truth? And in many cases the answer must be: Obviously not!

This is in accordance with the way Dali was often deliberately confusing the art critics and journalists when asked to explain his works. For example he asserted that the melting watches in his most Famous work: "Persistence of Memory" was inspired by a Camembert cheese he had seen melting in the sun!

I don't think this explanation is to be taken seriously. Rather, the melting watches are an expression of the distorted memory. Now, this is really interesting, because this work of art may thus be a key to the answer of the question: Was Dali insane?

First, if the distorted memory is part of Dali's surreal project then his lies in the autobiography are by themselves an integrated part of his work.

Second, if so, the work "Persistence of Memory" thus becomes a comment to the distorted memory ( and life? ) of Salvador Dali.

Can an insane person in such a refined way comment on his own insanity? The answer must be: NO!

Learn more about this subject! Read my article "Salvador Dali: Persistence of Memory" at

Source: EzineArticles
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