Salvador Dali: Biography, Trivia, And Facts About The Famous Surrealist Painter

Dalí in 1939. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

The 20th century was very nearly the century of Salvador Dalí. From 1904 to 1989, he lived a life of surreal opulence, but he put up such a facade around himself that breaking down that barrier is nearly impossible. Even so, we're going to do our best to explain the person behind the mustache.

Hello, Dalí

When Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, in the Catalonian town of Figueres, he was the second child named Salvador in his family. Nine months earlier, Dalí's mother gave birth to a boy also named Salvador who died of gastroenteritis. The young Dalí was first introduced to art by his mother, who amused the boy by molding figures from wax candles. Without her, Dalí has said, he never would have become the fascinating creature he grew to be. He once recalled to his biographer:

Every morning, when he woke up, his mother would look lovingly into his eyes and recite the traditional formula: 'Cor que vols? Cor que destiges' (‘Sweetheart, what do you want? Sweetheart, what do you desire?’)