The Surrealists’ examination of the human psyche and dreams reached new apices in the works of Spanish-born Salvador Dalí (1904-1989). In his paintings, sculptures, jewellery, and designs for furniture and movies, Dalí explored a deeply erotic dimension, studying the writings of Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) and Sigmund Freud, and conceiving what he called the “paranoiac-critical method” to abet his creative process.
As he expressed it, in his painting he aimed “to materialise the images of concrete irrationality with the most imperialistic fury of precision […] in order that the world of imagination and of concrete irrationality may be as objectively evident […] as that of the exterior world of phenomenal reality”. He strove to make the world of his paintings persuasively real – in his words, to make the irrational concrete.
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