Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was originally a Cubist but then became the best known example of the surrealism school of painting, being renowned for the vivid and bizarre content of his pictures. The word 'dali-esque' has become associated with surrealism. In addition to his painting skills, which were strongly influenced by the old masters of the Italian renaissance, his creative talents extended to film, sculpture, and photography.
As a surrealist, Dali emphasized the idea of absurdity and the role of the unconscious in his art. His waxed moustache, general eccentricity and self-promotion accorded him wide public recognition and significant commercial success during his lifetime.
Among his best known works of art, are: The Persistence of Memory (1931), Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (1936) and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1954). The Persistence of Memory (La persistencia de la memoria) is probably Dalí's most famous oil painting. The picture introduced his image of the soft melting pocket watch - reality being nothing but the Camembert cheese of space and time - and epitomised the artist's notion of of "softness" and "hardness", which was central to his thinking of the time.
This clock-imagery can be seen as a visual representation of Einstein's theory of Relativity, showing how gravity affects and distorts time.