Born in Figueres, Spain, Salvador Dalí was encouraged to practice his art from an early age and would eventually go on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. As an art student, Dalí assimilated a vast number of artistic styles and displayed unusual technical facility as a painter. It was not until the late 1920s that Dali discovered Sigmund Freud’s writings on subconscious imagery and became affiliated with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists and writers who sought to establish the “greater reality” of the human subconscious over reason.
Dalí’s painting style matured with extraordinary rapidity, and from 1929 to 1937 he produced the paintings which made him the world’s best-known Surrealist artist. He is perhaps best known for his 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory, showing melting clocks in a landscape setting. The rise of fascist leader Francisco Franco in Spain led to the artist's expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that didn't stop him from painting. Dalí died in Figueres in 1989.