1921, titled Self Portrait (Figueres), indicates two things. First, Dalí's style was becoming less impressionistic and open to broader influences, and second, he was becoming conscious of his public image. The technique Dalí employed in the work, known as "chiaroscuro," is often found in the works of older European master painters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Here the shading creates a mysterious atmosphere, emphasizing the artist's eye that holds the viewer in its gaze.
The confrontational work was painted during the time when the young artist began attending art school in Madrid. Dalí represented himself as a young dandy, wearing a large floppy hat, a black cape, and an audacious red scarf and sporting a pipe. Yet Dalí did not smoke, and the clothing items were used in a local theatrical performance. That Dalí chose to use these props for this early self-portrait indicates that at the age of seventeen, he was already consciously building an eccentric public persona that became his calling card in later years.…
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