Arguably one of the world’s most famous artists, Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter renowned for his surreal creations and bizarre fashion.

Dali grew up in a strict environment, but although his father never tolerated his outbursts and eccentricities, he always supported his artistic talent.

Dali was 16 when his mother died of breast cancer and the event had a profound effect on him. In his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, the artist wrote about some of his strange and sometimes disturbing behaviors.

Passionate about understanding the subconscious, Dalí read everything he could find on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories. In order to access his subconscious and enhance his artistic creativity, Dali invented a mental exercise which he called the “paranoiac – critical method”.

The exercise helped him create the paintings which made him the world’s best-known Surrealist artist (including The Persistence of Memory – Dali’s most famous piece). Another method that Dali used to perfect his art was studying some of the most brilliant artists of his time.

From painting to movies, fashion and sculpture, Dali mastered them all. Here are 18 Salvador Dali quotes on art, ambition and uniqueness.

Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.

At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.


A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.

I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.


Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.

Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you.

I’m much more interested in speaking, or being near people who think the opposite of the things I think, than with people who think the same things that I think.

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.

Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.

It is not me who is the clown, but this monstrously cynical and so unconsciously naive society, which plays the game of seriousness in order better to hide its madness.

Everything alters me, but nothing changes me.

Whoever wants to engage people’s interest must provoke them.

It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.

The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.

Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.

There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.

There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.