Any art fan should read a Salvador Dali biography to get a better appreciation of his works. His life wasn't as wild as his paintings might suggest, but it was certainly memorable.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech was born to Salvador Dali i Cusi and Felipa Domenech Ferres on May 11, 1904. He and his sister enjoyed a happy childhood in Figueras, an agricultural village nestled in the Pyrenees. By all accounts, he was a natural artist and was drawing and sketching at an early age. Dali attended local art school, and his parents encouraged him to develop his skills. When Dali was 16, his mother died of cancer, and this event had a powerful impact on the young artist.
When he turned 18 years old, Dali attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, where his skills were already superior to those of many of the faculty. At the Academy, Dali was heavily influenced by the Dada and Cubism movements, and characteristics of these art movements are prominent in his early works. Dali left the Academy without graduating, claiming that there was nobody on the faculty good enough to critique his work. He moved to Paris, where his reputation as an exceptional, yet eccentric artist would allow him to thrive in the most prestigious art circles in Europe.
With the Cubism and Surrealism art movements among the most progressive of the day, Dali spent time in his Paris studio creating some of his most famous works. With artists like Pablo Picasso applauding his work, Salvador Dali's paintings, such as "The Persistence of Memory," became icons of the Surrealist movement. During this time, he also met his future spouse, Helena Diakanoff Devulina, better known as Gala. They married in 1934. Throughout the next decades, Dali and Gala lived in Paris, New York and Spain, and Dali enjoyed great success not only as a painter, but also as a filmmaker, sculptor, architect, photographer and writer.
When his beloved wife died in 1982, Salvador Dali's health deteriorated, and he spent his final years in near-seclusion with a host of health problems. The artist known for his cutting-edge artwork, his flamboyant personality and his unusual mustache died quietly on January 23, 1989, from heart failure.