Not so very long ago, Salvador Dali was the most famous living painter in the world. When the BBC’s Arena came to shoot an episode about him in 1986, they asked him what that exalted nation was almost like. “I don’t know if I am the most famous painter in the world, ” Dali responds, “because lots of the people who ask for my autograph in the street don’t know if I’m a vocalist, a movie star, a psychopath, a scribe — they don’t know what I am.” He was, in one sense or another, the majority of members of those things and others besides. But we can safely say, more than thirty years after his death, that Dali will be remembered first for his visual skill, with its vast seas and skies, its absurd barbarians, its melting clocks. And what did Dali himself believe he had contributed to art?

“Nothing, ” he says. “Absolutely nothing, because, as I’ve always said, I’m a very bad painter. Because I’m extremely rational to be a good painter. To has become a good painter you’ve got to be a bit stupid, with the exception of Velazquez, who is a genius, whose talent outruns the prowes of painting.” In other messages, when Dali’s ever-present detractors said he was no Velazquez, Dali’s wholeheartedly agreed.

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Over the past few decades, sympathy of the peculiar compounding of image and procedure on display in Dali’s make-ups has prevailed him more official respect( as well as a lavish brand-new collection published in book form by Taschen ), but the debate about to what magnitude he was a true artist and to what extent a calculatedly eccentric self-promoter will never fully simmer down.

Dali also claimed to owe his life to decorating naughtily. “The day Dali colours a depict as good as Velazquez, Vermeer, or Raphael, or music like Mozart, ” he says, “the next week he’ll die. So I prefers to depict bad portraits and live longer.” That he had previously opened his ninth decade by the time Arena came calling suggests that this strategy might have been effective, though he wasn’t without his health disturbs. In his first public appearing after having had a pacemaker embed that same time, he declared that “When you are a genius, you do not have the right to die, because we are necessary for the progress of humanity.” Dali’s continued his askew arrogance to the end, even through the controversial final years that pictured him should be signed on the large-scale production of shoddy lithographs of his decorates. About the persons who became them and the people who bought them, Dali had only this to say: “They deserve each other.”

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on metropolis, usage, and cultural activities. His assignments include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21 st-Century Los Angeles and the video line The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Salvador Dali Explains Why He Was a “Bad Painter” and Contributed “Nothing” to Art( 1986 ) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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