First off, let me say that I know next to nothing about art. I would like to cultivate an appreciation for great artwork, but it certainly does not come naturally - especially when it comes to modern art. Dali, however, is a master I at least have some affinity with. Who doesn't know of the melting clocks? I have also seen the dream sequence he created for Hitchcock's film Spellbound in 1945. Plus, the guy was just plain weird, and that is something I know a little bit about myself.
This Artists of the 20th Century DVD looks solely at Dali's artwork. All you see throughout the 50 minutes of video is one piece after another. There is no biographical look at the man, no mention of his contributions to the world beyond his paintings, and certainly no commentary on his eccentric personality (or mustache). There is not even an adequate identification of Gala, his inspiration and muse, despite numerous references to her in his paintings. Thus, this DVD will not introduce you to Dali the man or Dali the artist - it only looks at selected pieces of the art work of the maestro.
Dali's artwork is obviously impressive, and I was surprised by the variety of his work and styles. The narrator offers insight into some paintings - others, you just look and advance. I don't understand a lot of Dali's work, nor can I see some of the things the narrator tells me are in his more abstract pieces. The melting clocks and other surrealist images appeal to me. Dark works such as Visage of War speak volumes to the human observer, and the disappearing bust of Voltaire paintings are also striking. I was most impressed by the small sample of classical pieces Dali painted, however - largely because I did not know he ever produced such works. My idea of a painting equates with something like Design for the Interior Decoration of a Stable-Library, which is a strikingly beautiful work.
Is this DVD worth watching? I will have to say No. If you're a know-nothing novice like me, there is not enough basic information provided to really illuminate the artwork you will be shown. If you're knowledgeable about Dali, you'll be disappointed by the limited nature of the production and by the exquisite Dali works excluded from the show. After watching this, I decided to peruse some Dali galleries online, and I must say that the Internet makes this DVD of little value. Not only are the analyses and critical comments you will find online far superior to the information provided in this video, the quality of the paintings themselves are far better online than they are on the DVD.