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Learn from the Masters – Salvador Dali Portrait Painting for Kids

Kids Education, Learn from the Masters, Online Art Classes

‘Learn from the Masters’ blog series as it shows kids learning to paint famous artworks in our online art classes and learn about master painters. This week we talk about how kids can learn to paint a portrait of Salvador Dali, learn about his life and history, and the unique style of Surrealism in his paintings.

Salvador Dali – Fun and Interactive Portrait Painting For Kids

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist whose artistic repertoire included painting, sculpture, film, and photography, collaborating with other artists. He was known for the striking and bizarre images in his work and excellent craftsmanship.

Learn more about Dali’s life, his journey to success, and how kids learn to create portraits and Surrealism at Nimmy’s Art.

<artwork by Dali or our work>

Who was Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was a surrealist painter born in Catalonia, Spain. He completed his formal education in fine arts in Madrid and was influenced by Impressionist painters at a young age. He grew to be one of the best Cubism artists of all time, with his first public exhibition organized when he was 14. Focusing mainly on art themes of dreams, subconsciousness, science, and relationships, he was widely vivacious for learning techniques to implement into his art, but the loss of his mother at 16 affected him deeply.

Dali’s work was a great influence on other surrealist painters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory in 1931, is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings. The artwork illustrates melting clocks in a calm landscape inspired by the Catalonian era. This is similar to artists like Van Gogh and Claude Monet, who used the settings of France in their paintings and found their own styles.

Much like his paintings, his eccentric nature too often drew much attention. He believed in the importance of his relationship with the public and had a great talent for self-promoting.

“I am not strange. I am just not normal.” 

-Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali’s painting style – Surrealism

Dali possessed unusual technical skills and a strong foundation as an artist. The theories of Sigmund Freud led to his realization about the subconscious. The significance of the subconscious and his attachment to the Surrealists brought about the rapid evolution and maturity in his artistic style.

Portrait painting in acrylic - Salvador Dali
Portrait painting for kids – Salvador Dali, Surrealist Artist, at the online art classes by Nimmy’s Art

Salvador Dali depicted a dream world in which normal real-life objects were deformed or juxtaposed in a bizarre fashion. These objects were portrayed with meticulously realistic detail in his artwork and placed in landscapes reminiscent of his hometown. Although known as the best Surrealist artist, his views and work later in his life distanced him from the Surrealist group.

Raphael Sanzio, a prominent Renaissance painter in art history, inspired Dali from an early period in his life. He moved to the United States for a few years. During their eight years in the US, he explored wide-ranging art forms, like designing interiors, theatre sets, and jewelry. Dali’s artworks during this period strongly influenced Raphael’s art and style.

Kids can learn to paint a portrait of Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali has interesting facial features like his mustache that interest kids greatly. We use proportions to find the placement of the facial features. But it is most important to understand the axis for the face based on the direction the subject is looking at. Identifying this axis makes it easy to place the facial features and create a portrait for kids.

Portrait of Salvador Dali by 5 - 7 years old students at Nimmy's Art online art classes
Portrait of Salvador Dali by 5 – 7 years old students at Nimmy’s Art online art classes

The correct placement of features is often a trivial element that goes unnoticed in the complexities of a face. For example, we learned in our portrait painting online class that the eyes are placed halfway down the head. This is an obvious measurement that comes as a surprise. However, it is hard to forget these measurements once kids learn them.

We completed the portrait of Salvador Dali in our 5 – 7-year-old of online art lessons and introduced Surrealist elements from Dali’s paintings during the class to our portrait. We added the melting watches from The Persistence Of Memory to the background and encouraged kids to find other elements they would like to add. For instance, they can add the butterflies from one of the landscapes by Dali.

Benefits of Learning about Dali and Surrealism in Visual Arts

Salvador Dali’s work is a great choice to introduce portrait painting to little kids of 5 to 7 years. Firstly, Dali’s unique expressions have an attention-grabbing style. For instance, Dali’s long mustache amuses young kids. Kids learn to use simple step-by-step measurements to create Dali’s portrait. Since the subject brings about a special interest in the students, learning happens naturally.

Secondly, the fascinating elements of Surrealism in Dali’s paintings are another feature that can keep little kids engrossed in learning. Surrealist art allows kids to force their imaginations outside the normal realm of things. It encourages kids to think and reflect on their dreams, bringing a sense of awareness about their subconscious. Understanding and accepting the irrationalities of our minds empowers kids to come forward with their thoughts uninhibited.

From melting clocks to desert butterflies, kids’ innate curiosity and imagination easily resonate with the Surrealist elements of Dali’s paintings.


Which of your dreams would you like to bring to canvas?

Pick up your brush and create the portrait of Dali. What Surrealist element would you like to add to the painting? Join our online art courses to learn fine arts with fun.

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