Like ballerinas, Salvador Dalí was simultaneously an artist and a work of art. When not piecing together some of the most mind-bending paintings known to man, Dalí employed the bizarre and sublime when concocting his inimitable public persona. As the following photos show, Dalí was as much an extension of his art as art was an extension of Dalí:
Throughout his life, Dalí embraced the irrational as his truth, and dug deep into the unconscious self to splash his findings onto the canvas. Pure aesthetics didn't motivate the surrealist quest to unearth the irrational, though: In the eyes of surrealists, it was cold, rational calculation that led to the conflicts, wars and alienation seen in the early 20th century.
By uncovering the irrational and sublime through shape and color, one could show that another world — one not dictated by zero-sum games and the intellectual strictures of reason — was not only possible, but already existing. By looking inward instead of outward to understand the world in which we live, so thought the surrealists, we might survive.
In a technical sense, Dalí and his contemporaries did not succeed in altering the world's consciousness, but their work — as complex as it is absurd — presents an invaluable artistic challenge to the chilly realism that largely defined the 20th century. That alone is a triumph.