By Tristan, 10 years old
- white drawing sheet A3 size
- tempera paint
Salvador Dalí (Figueres, 1904 – 1989) was a Spanish painter and versitile artist. in his younger years he was interested in painters like El Greco, Michelangelo and Diego Velázquez. He focused his attention at that time to Impressionism and Cubism. Dalí studied in Madrid from 1921 to 1924. In 1929 he moved to Paris. He met Pablo Picasso and André Breton and joined with surrealism. In 1940 he moved to the USA and lived there for 15 years. After this he went back to Spain. Dali's work can be divided in four periods.
Early period (1917-1927) - In this period Dalí made paintings of the landscape around Figueres. These works already show his kinship with Impressionism and Cubism.
Transition period (1927-1928) - This period is characterized by experimentation. He uses different textures, made with paint resins, sand, stone, cork and gravel.
Surrealistic period (1929-1940) - The Surrealists were not sufficient to logic alone. They focused on dreams and the subconscious. Dalí explored his own fears and fantasies and painted them on canvas through symbolic images in a very realistic, almost photographic style. He called his paintings 'hand painted dream photographs'.
Classical period (1941-1989) - Dali stopped in 1941 with the surrealist style. He became fascinated by religion and modern science and found his inspiration in the ancient and Renaissance art.
Back to work
Show some surrealistic works of Dali and discuss the salient features: his work looks like a photo, contains 'strange' elements - things things that can not actually. The work will surprise or a shock sometimes. Explain the difference between realism (reality painted on canvas, like a photo) and surrealism - realism with strange elements. Tell students that they have to make a surreal collage today. For this they cut pictures from magazines, arrange them on a sheet and paste them. They may, if no proper background is to be found, paint a part of this background.
Discuss the artworks: what surrealistic elements do you see? And what are the realistic elements? What do you think of the combination of both?