Cool interesting facts about salvador dali

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Salvador Dali depicted in his Palace of the Winds

Most Interesting Facts About Salvador Dali


Many facts about Salvador Dali will help you understanding better his works and their symbolism. Some are fun facts, some other are quite interesting, and a few can be even disturbing. They talk about live, love, fear and passions, and knowing about them will open your eyes to a whole new Dali universe. That’s why today we want to share with you some of our favorite crazy facts about Salvador Dali, the kind that we love to share in our Dali Museum Tours from Barcelona.

Here are some Salvador Dali interesting facts you probably didn’t know:


Why he was called Salvador

Dali’s first name, Salvador, wasn’t chosen by accident. He had had an older brother who died at the age of 3 and was also called Salvador. 9 months later, Salvador Dali – the artist – was born, and his parents gave him the name of his dead brother. It seems that this was a quite common practice in the early 1900’s, even if now it’ll sound like something horrible to do. 

And indeed, it affected the young Dali who was going to be obsessed about the idea of death for the rest of his life. Eggs and putrefying characters are some of the symbols used in Salvador Dali paintings to exorcise his fears of death.


The origin of his (supposed) sexual impotency

Many Salvador Dali interesting facts talk about sexuality (you only have to see the pool in his house in Portlligat, that has the shape of a giant penis). That obsession seems to originate from his youth, when his father (the notary of the village and a very respectable man) decided to warn his young son about the dangers of sex outside holy marriage. 

He then made him look at a collection of men sick with syphilis and other sexual diseases. Those very explicit and bloody pictures of penises are said to have scared Dali so much of sex that he became impotent and wasn’t able to perform complete sexual relationships more than a couple of times in his life (for the rest, he’d be happy to be a voyeur). The ants depicted running over bodies and objects could be interpreted as a way to express his anguish.


His extreme love for Gala

Gala and Dali met in Cadaqués, when she arrived with her husband the poet Paul Éluard and their little daughter. Dali and her fell immediately madly in love, and she quit her family to move with Dali. He’ll be obsessed with her forever, and she became his muse and obsession. It didn’t matter if he couldn’t fulfill her sexual needs: he’d just let her have younger lovers and pretend he didn’t know.

He called her his queen, to what she replied she needed then her own castle, and he promised to buy her one but he’d take decades to do it. He finally found a medieval mansion in the village of Púbol in 1968, which she accepted with the only condition that the place would be “her private headquarters and that she wouldn’t even open him the door unless she had sent him a written invitation”. It was, of course, where she’d be meeting her lovers and she didn’t want to be interrupted.


How he took revenge on his father

Let me share now some Salvador Dali interesting facts about his relationship with his family. Dali’s surrealist style and the fact that he started living in sin with Gala, a divorced lady 10 years older than him, damaged the relationship between the artist and his family that was finally broken after Dali’s refusal to apologize for a painting that supposedly insulted his mother. 

That’s when his father expelled him from the family and removed him from his will. In revenge, it seems like Dali masturbated inside an envelope and sent it to his father with a note saying “Father, I’m giving you back the only thing I owe you”. Wow.


Is he buried where he really wanted to be?

Gala was precisely buried in the crypt of the Púbol Castle when she died in 1982, and for many years Dali said he wanted to be buried next to her. There is actually an empty tomb beside hers waiting for him. However, Dali would take another 7 years to die. One day the Major of Figueres went visiting Dali, who was very sick in hospital, and being both alone, Dali confessed him that he had changed his mind: the crypt in Púbol was too dark, scary and smelled of death – and he was so scared of dying! 

He wanted to be buried in the Theater Museum of Figueres, under the stage of the old theater: a vibrant place full of light and life. Since no one else was there, there were of course rumors saying the Mayor had made up the whole story. However, Dali was indeed buried in the museum and there is still people now who claim he should be moved to Púbol.

AND BONUS! One of the facts about Salvador Dali that freaks me out the most:


He could have foreseen the date of his death

One of the most unknown facts about Salvador Dali is that he could have foreseen his death. Dali died on January 23, 1989. But way before his death, even before Gala’s death, he painted an intriguing piece where he retouched an old Flemish painting. In the middle of it, he added a huge melting clock with some numbers missing. 

Actually, when you put together the only numbers that appear on the painting, they happen to be number 1 (for January), numbers 2 and 3, and numbers 8 and 9. It might be a synchronicity, but it’s quite disturbing that they coincide with his death date. Specially when the painting is called after a sentence of a local philosopher: “Quan cau, cau”, meaning “When it’s time, it’s time”. And no, he couldn’t have killed himself: he was weak and heavily surveyed at the hospital. All these stories and more are shared in our Salvador Dali tours.

Do you know of any other fun or interesting facts about Salvador Dali that are worth sharing?


Author Marta Laurent Veciana


Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.

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