Extraordinary artist Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí I Domenech (1904-1989) was born on this day in the fishing village of Figureas, on the northeast coast of Spain.
"At the age of seven," he once confessed, "I wanted to be Napoléon, and my ambition has been growing ever since."
Imaginative and controversial, with wild eyes and handlebar moustache, he was known for eccentricity that Playboy in 1964 described as "living just this side of madness."
"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad," said Dali who once arrived at Paris' Sorbonne to give the speech "Vermeer and the Rhinoceros" in a white Rolls Royce filled with thousands of white cauliflowers.
The surrealism master allowed his "hand-painted dream photographs" to delve into the subconscious. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory (1931), depicted three melting watches, all stopped at different times, hanging over various objects in an eerily calm landscape.
Some have called the fantastic image a tribute to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, which destroyed fixed notions of time and space. Dali, always provocative, confessed that over-ripe camembert cheese inspired the image and that his paintings had many different meanings at any given time.
"The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret," he confessed. "Every morning when I awake, the greatest joy is mine: that of being Salvador Dali."
More Art & Artists Quotations
Every calamity is a spur and valuable hint.