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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali Paperback – 20 Jul 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (20 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571193803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571193806
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 889,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Ian Gibson's fascinating portrait of Salvador Dali depicts an artist whose life is as fragmented as his paintings. Perhaps surprisingly, Gibson argues that an intense sense of shame was the driving force in the surrealist's life and art, steering him between leaps of creative invention and personal ruin. With access to previously unknown biographical details, Gibson concludes that Dali's shame centred around sexual conflict, particularly in his relationships with his muse Gala and his friend Garcia Lorca. In lieu of the sexual act, Dali cultivated a deeply exhibitionist persona and used his art as protection against the shame he associated with sex. As his fame grew so did his need to hide behind his extravagance; the sense of shame is directed outward rather than inward as a result. In the process, Dali betrayed his family, many of his artistic mentors, and in the end his own art.

Colour reproductions of Dali's work illustrate the conflicts playing out in the artist's history and mind, and while Gibson cannot fully explain the origins of Dali's genius and where the artist's true motivations originate, his argument is compelling and reveals a great deal about the tragic and brillant painter. --Aaron Abrams


This biography argues that Salvador Dali lived a "shameful" life in every way: that underlying his exhibitionism was an intense feeling of shame, the individual hanging his head being one of the recurrent themes of his painting. The book presents a portrait of a disjointed character.

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