For many, Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) represents the Surrealist painter par excellence, one whose work explored his own dream life, hallucinations, and fetishes in the process of objectifying the irrational elements of the unconscious. In this rare and important volume, the painter expresses (in his inimitably eccentric fashion) his ideas of what painting should be, expounds on what is good and bad painting, offers opinions on the merits of Vermeer, Picasso, Cézanne, and other artists, and expresses his thoughts on the history of painting.
In a blend of outrageous egotism and unconventional humor, Dalí presents 50 “secrets” for mastering the art of painting: “the secret of sleeping while awake,” “the secret of the periods of carnal abstinence and indulgence to be observed by the painter,” “the secret of the painter's pointed mustaches,” “the secret of learning to paint before knowing how to draw,” “the secret of the painter's marriage,” “the secret of the reason why a great draughtsman should draw while completely naked,” and many other Daliesque prescriptions for artistic success.
Illustrated with the artist's own drawings, this volume is a fascinating mixture of serious artistic advice, lively personal anecdotes, and academic craftsmanship. It is, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “in lay-out and clarity of design . . . a remarkable work of art in itself.” Especially esteemed for its insights into modern art, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship is indispensable reading for any student of Surrealism or 20th century painting.