Salvador Dali Created His Persona Because His Parents Wanted Him To Be His Dead Brother
Salvador Dali was more or less the Andy Kaufman of the art world. When he wasn't painting melting clocks and elephants on stilts, he was conducting art lectures while wearing a full SCUBA suit, at one point almost suffocating for the sake of a joke literally nobody understood. Whether you think the founder of surrealism was a genius or a total nutcase, there's one thing you can say for sure: There was only one Dali.
The Awful Childhood:
Well, that's not quite accurate. "Salvador Dali" was originally the name of the artist's brother who died before his second birthday, nine months before the famous Salvador was born. His grief-stricken parents then went ahead and gave Salvador his dead brother's name, because why let it go to waste?
All kids look the same until they grow their baby mustaches, anyway.
You might assume this was the result of poor imagination combined with family tradition (his father was also named Salvador). But his parents' obsession went way past homage driven by simple mourning, and began to plumb the depths of abusive psychosis. They started dressing Salvador in his brother's clothes, making him play with his brother's toys, and generally addressing him as though he were their dead toddler come back to life.
The weirdness didn't stop after Dali had beaten his brother's longevity, either. Throughout his entire childhood, they maintained that he was the reincarnation of their dead child, and didn't hold back when it came to telling him that. Now, we're not psychologists, but we're reasonably confident that's the kind of thing that irreparably damages a person for life. Nobody likes being told they are their ghost brother. As if to prove our point, Dali once painted a portrait of his dead brother in his hypothetical adult form. Of course, his brother's face was made of cherries floating over some dystopian hellscape, because this is still Dali we're talking about.
Also, did you spot the hidden penis?