These Salvador Dali quotes illustrate how he felt about art, life, and himself. Keep reading to learn more about this master artist and Surrealism.
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was a Spanish surrealist artist, who received a formal education in fine arts in Madrid. His technical skill and precision draftsmanship coupled with the bizarre images he created led to his becoming a world-renowned artist. He was also the 1st Marquess of Dalí de Púbol.
Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement founded by poet André Breton in Paris in 1924. It theorized that the Enlightenment—the 17th- and 18th-century intellectual movement focused on reason and individualism—had suppressed other qualities. Breton believed these were the superior qualities of the irrational, unconscious mind.
From a young age, Impressionism and Renaissance masters influenced Dali’s work. He also became increasingly attracted to Cubism and avant-garde movements. In the late 1920s, these interests had moved him closer to Surrealism. In 1929, he joined the Surrealist group, quickly becoming one of its leading figures.
Don’t forget to also check out these art quotes celebrating the power and beauty of creation.
Salvador Dali quotes about art and painting
1. “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” ― Salvador Dalí
2. “Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating: It is either good or bad.” ― Salvador Dalí
3. “This grandiose tragedy that we call modern art.” ― Salvador Dalí
4. “We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art.” ― Salvador Dalí
5. “Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you.” ― Salvador Dalí
6. “People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings.” ― Salvador Dalí
7. “I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.” ― Salvador Dalí
8. “If you understand your painting beforehand, you might as well not paint it.” ― Salvador Dalí
9. “Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.” ― Salvador Dalí
10. “The reason some portraits don’t look true to life is that some people make no effort to resemble their pictures.” ― Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dali quotes about surrealism, confusion, drugs, and life
11. “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” ― Salvador Dalí
12. “Surrealism is not a movement. It is a latent state of mind, perceivable through the powers of dream and nightmare.” ― Salvador Dalí
13. “Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete, and classic as the works of museums.” ― Salvador Dalí
14. “Life is too short to remain unnoticed.” ― Salvador Dalí
15. “I absolutely love life.” ― Salvador Dalí
16. “I don’t do drugs. I am a drug.” ― Salvador Dalí
17. “What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.” ― Salvador Dalí
18. “Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.” ― Salvador Dalí
19. “You have to systematically create confusion; it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life.” ― Salvador Dalí
20. “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” ― Salvador Dalí
Inspirational Salvador Dali quotes
21. “No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy person.” ― Salvador Dalí
22. “Knowing how to look is a way of inventing.” ― Salvador Dalí
23. “Don’t bother about being modern. Unfortunately, it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.” ― Salvador Dalí
24. “Repulsion is the sentry that guards the gate to all that we most desire.” ― Salvador Dalí
25. “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” ― Salvador Dalí
26. “In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob.” ― Salvador Dalí
27. “The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.” ― Salvador Dalí
28. “The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.” ― Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dali quotes about himself
29. “Each morning I wake and I experience again a supreme pleasure, the pleasure of being Salvador Dali.” ― Salvador Dalí
30. “There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” ― Salvador Dalí
31. “I am not strange. I am just not normal.” ― Salvador Dalí
32. “Since I don’t smoke, I decided to grow a mustache—it is better for the health. However, I always carried a jewel-studded cigarette case in which, instead of tobacco, were carefully placed several mustaches, Adolphe Menjou style. I offered them politely to my friends: ‘Mustache? Mustache? Mustache?’” ― Salvador Dalí
33. “Everything alters me, but nothing changes me.” ― Salvador Dalí
34. “It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.” ― Salvador Dalí
35. “I want to perceive and understand the hidden powers and laws of things, in order to have them in my power.” ― Salvador Dalí
36. “Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.” ― Salvador Dalí
37. “There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.” ― Salvador Dalí
38. “At the age of six, I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon, and my ambition has been growing ever since.” ― Salvador Dalí
More wise words and Salvador Dali quotes
39. “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ― Salvador Dalí
40. “An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and has no hair under her arms.” ― Salvador Dalí
41. “The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.” ― Salvador Dalí
42. “The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” ― Salvador Dalí
43. “So little of what could happen does happen.” ― Salvador Dalí
44. “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” ― Salvador Dalí
45. “It’s better to have loved and lost than do forty pounds of laundry a week.” ― Salvador Dalí
46. “The one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.” ― Salvador Dalí
47. “It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.” ― Salvador Dalí
48. “Beauty should be edible, or not at all.” ― Salvador Dalí
49. “Let my enemies devour each other.” ― Salvador Dalí
50. “One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.” ― Salvador Dalí
What did you learn from these Salvador Dali quotes?
Salvador Dali’s best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931. The painting features several clocks that appear to be melting in a bleak dreamscape and is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings.
He did more than just paintings, though. His artistic work also included graphic art, film, sculpture, and photography. He was also a writer of fiction, poetry, and essays. His work featured themes that included dreams, the human subconscious, sexuality, religion, and science.
Dali lived in Spain, France, and the United States, where he achieved the most commercial success. He lived in France throughout the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) before leaving for the United States in 1940, where he achieved the most commercial success. He returned to Spain in 1948, where he announced his return to Catholicism.
His eccentric behavior often drew more attention than his artwork, much to the dismay of those who held his work in high regard. Tell us which piece of artwork you most admire of Dali’s in the comment section below, along with any other favorite Salvador Dali quotes and sayings.