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Psychology and Psychotechnics

Childhood traumas as the source of Salvador Dali's creativity

Iakovleva Elena

professor of the Department of Philosophy and Socio-Political Disciplines at Institute of Economics, Management and Law (Kazan)

420111, Russia, respublika Tatarstan, g. Kazan', ul. Moskovskaya, 42

Other publications by this author








Abstract: The object of the study of the article were some episodes from the childhood of Salvador Dali, left without the attention of scientists. Analytical and biographical methods were chosen as the main research methods. After analyzing the psychoanalytic literature on the problem of trauma, the diary entries of the genius and the research literature about him, some negative situations from the childhood of Salvador Dali were identified. Among them, we will highlight the trauma of birth, the violation of marital fidelity on the part of the father, the specifics of parental education, orienting the child to the ideal in the image of a deceased brother, self-admiration with a mirror image. These injuries contributed to the fact that Salvador Dali became a narcissistic and ambivalent personality. For the first time, the life of a genius is viewed from the perspective of his childhood traumatic experience. Thanks to this, it turned out to be possible to clarify some of the features of the genius's psyche that influenced his life and work. He replaced his own Self with the ideal Self, honing it to perfection and engaging in self-admiration. The genius was an insecure person, hiding behind shocking audacity. All his life, the Spaniard tossed between conflicting feelings, put forward antinomic judgments, could not make decisions. It must be recognized that childhood traumas played not only a negative role in the Spaniard's life manifestations, but also became a source of creativity. Through him, Salvador Dali used artistic means to expose his injuries in the surreal world, trying to reduce their negative pressure on life and rationally work out problems. The traumatic experience of Salvador Dali and its prolonged effect, which formed an ambivalent personality in him, require further study and analysis of the consequences in various creative searches of the genius.


injury, childhood trauma, Salvador Dali, narcissism, ideal, ambivalent personality, mirror, shocking, sexual life, creativity

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Among the rather ambiguous artists of the twentieth century can be attributed to Salvador Dali. His life and work are constantly in the optics of the attention of art historians, philosophers, cultural scientists, psychoanalysts, who are contradictory in their assessments, leaving many questions open and not clarified. Thus, I. Svirin emphasizes that Salvador Dali's "madness and genius are intertwined so closely that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from each other" [10]. The author, having raised the question of the possible diagnosis of paranoia in a genius, nevertheless does not give an unambiguous answer to it, arguing that most often the Spaniard rationally simulated it and verbally ironized the situation. Ya. Gibson draws attention to the shameful pages of the genius's life associated with an inferiority complex and the desire to escape from it by veiling the facts [2]. But J. Gibson, shocking the public with revelations from the Dalian life, does not clarify their underlying causes. K. Rojas describes the artist's emotional experiences that influenced the inconsistency of his nature [8]. The author points out that Salvador Dali constantly changed his masks, and called the reasons for such behavior the doubts of a genius in his existence, the image of an older brother who died before his appearance, and the suppression of the child's personality by the father. Researcher M. Nyuridsani, analyzing the versatility of the Spaniard's personality, draws attention to the situations of his childhood associated with his father and the figure of his brother who died early, which determined the course of his later life [7]. Touching upon the problem of the paradoxical personality of a genius, M. Etherington-Smith notices a huge number of omissions about the life of Salvador Dali, which was facilitated by his protective barriers (strategies of complete nonsense, mystifications, myths, etc.) [15]. But at the same time, the author does not pay attention to the origins of the emergence of protection mechanisms. In general, researchers, arguing about the inconsistency and provocativeness of the brilliant Spanish artist, his insanity and inferiority complexes, the ambiguous role of the father and the figure of the deceased brother, ignore the problem of the traumatism of Catalan childhood and adolescence, which makes "the roots of his loneliness, his oddities", "his passion for sensational statements", the ability to "ascend to the heights crystal purity and at the same time ... to fall to the very bottom, into the world of base concepts" [5, p. 7]. The above actualizes the study of the childhood of genius, in which one can find the reasons for the originality of its manifestations and some motives of creativity.

For the first time, the object of the study was a philosophical and cultural analysis of some episodes from the childhood of Salvador Dali, which have a traumatic character. They were helped to identify the main methods of the article analytical and biographical. Thanks to the injuries found in the biography of Salvador Dali, it turned out to be possible to explain some of the features of his shocking creativity from a new perspective.

Let's start with understanding the trauma. Most of the works on trauma are found in psychological and psychoanalytic literature. Here, trauma is interpreted as a real event associated with destructive physical/mental/emotional effects on an individual [1; 4; 12]. This incident has a threatening mode, not obeying the control of the victim, who turned out to be helpless and did not find effective algorithms for resolving the situation. A traumatic event causes an individual "painful physical, emotional and mental (reflexive) experiences (suffering)", which leads to "violation of the integrity and harmony of the human body and soul" [4], mind and psyche. The physical/mental/emotional torment caused directly at the time of the incident has a powerful impact on the further course of life. Trauma has a prolonged effect, surfacing in memory as an obsessive situation and aggravated by the individual characteristics of the psyche. As R. Ayerman rightly notes, ""internal catastrophes" leave wounds and scars in the memory that are not easy to erase and that unpredictably affect the behavior of an individual in the future" [1]. The personality begins to live under the sign of trauma, trying to forget about it. But "the inability and/or inability to get rid of memories that bring back suffering to the past" leads to their displacement into the unconscious and/or to the conscious transformation of what happened into a less painful episode [4]. As a result, there is a splitting of the consciousness of a person who simultaneously remembers and wants to forget his traumatic experience, which brings discomfort into life. There is a violation of the individual's understanding of his own Self, the surrounding world and time, which manifests itself in fears, memories, dreams, actions, creativity. The latter, activating the resources of the imagination, switches a person's attention to the process of creating a new one, which relieves tension and softens the situation. In such self-regulation, an individual is (temporarily) able to control post-traumatic memory, process the meaning of trauma, and even change the direction of life activity.

It should be emphasized that quite often children's traumatic experience turns out to be unconscious, silent or carefully concealed. But you can learn about negative events in the life of the creator not only from his diaries and autobiography, but also through his works of art. Creativity plays not only the role of protection from traumatic experience, but also acts as a means of its expressive transmission in poetics: "the text has the same complexes that psychoanalysis has identified in the sphere of consciousness" [9]. At the same time, the text is associated with consciousness, and its meaning is associated with the unconscious. As V.P. Rudnev emphasizes, sometimes "the author himself does not know what he wanted to say by writing a text, he encrypts a message in it," therefore, "the hidden meaning of a work of art is similar to a traumatic situation hidden in the unconscious" [9]. Creativity helps to bring trauma into objectivity and free oneself from its overwhelming energy, partially revealing the essence of the unpleasant experience. In turn, the interpretation of artistic texts reveals some of the secrets of the author, explaining the motives of creativity and personal manifestations.

Turning to the study of trauma in the life of Salvador Dali, let's pay attention to the following episodes. To begin with, the genius diagnosed himself with a birth trauma. He called the day of his birth on May 11, 1904 a terrifying trauma, "when we are expelled from paradise in an instant, roughly pushed out of the closed and protective environment into a world open to all dangers" [3, p. 50]. The Spaniard wrote and talked a lot about his own intrauterine conditions, considering the mother's womb and his embryonic life paradise [3, pp. 47-56]. For him, the intrauterine paradise "concentrated the sweet anticipation of all future pleasures" [3, p. 49]. The Spaniard's nostalgia for paradise lost, characteristic of all people, was exaggerated. The horror of birth doomed the maestro to "fear, numb anguish of defeat and inescapable disgust" [3, p. 51]. The above caused discomfort and was a source of numerous anxieties. As E. Erickson noted, "a dose of childish curiosity concerning the "events" in the mother's body can strengthen a man's zeal to understand the mechanisms and chemical reactions of being, becoming a source of neurotic tension [14, p. 129]. From an overabundance of such negative states, Salvador Dali escaped into the nirvana of sleep or into dreams like the palaces of paradise lost: "in a dream, a person, albeit for a short time ... finds that heavenly bliss ... with precision to the smallest details" [3, p. 51]. Sleep and dreams provided the necessary shelter for the maestro, propping up the hateful crutches of reality and saving him from(sin)falls [3, p. 53]. At the same time, the return to reality always hurt the Spaniard. Only creativity helped alleviate suffering. On his canvases, the genius conveyed simultaneously the memories of paradise and the horror of perception of reality. It is no coincidence that Dalian creativity "disturbs, even inspires something like fear, and at the same time infects with a very difficult to express in words gloomy gaiety" [5, p. 24]. Surrealism became an inspiring space for the Spaniard, where he created a semantic field of the incredible and paradoxical. Confusing reality and fantasy, feeling the unsteadiness of the border between a dream /dream and reality, the maestro constantly asked: what do I see? In the state between waking and sleeping, the genius observed the transformation of his images, thoughts and feelings into paintings. In his work, the Spaniard conveyed the states of Self that disturbed him, which helped to overcome life crises. His works depict unpleasant/painful moments that make you relive traumatic situations and reduce their tension. The composite figures on the canvases of the genius are dual and terribly perfect (p. Dali), demonstrating the tossing and suffering of the creator, trying to escape from the circle of memories of childhood traumatic experience. The Dalian vision of the terrible is transformed into the beautiful and vice versa (recall the "Metamorphoses of Narcissus", 1937). The creative process itself personifies for the Spaniard an object often found on his canvases open drawers: they are symbols of the secrets of the inner world, being constantly searched by Salvador Dali ("Giraffe on Fire", 1936-1937, "Anthropomorphic Locker", 1936, "Fallen Angel", 1951).

The next injury was the information about the violation of marital fidelity from the father's side. As a child, Salvador "discovered that his father was cheating on his wife Felipe with her younger sister Catalina" [7, p. 123], who lived in their house. The actions of Dali Sr. brought destructive notes into the psyche of the future genius who loved his mother. In turn, the meek mother, experiencing a woman's fear of being abandoned, defended her husband and took his exploits for granted, which, according to E. Erikson, symbolically killed her son [14, p. 194]. Salvador Dali's love for his mother and hatred for his father (alternating with admiration and horror) took on colossal proportions, introducing a sense of inferiority into consciousness. At the same time, the denial of the father is nothing but his affirmation. This ambiguity is demonstrated on the canvases of the king of surrealism. Let us emphasize that the paintings depicting the father became a way of symbolically imprisoning Dali Sr. "in a framework that limited his predilection for threats and terror" [5, p. 10]. The massive figure of his father remained forever in the memory of Salvador Dali, periodically reminding himself of himself as a disturbing shadow. So, in the painting "Portrait of my Father" (1920-1921), the main character impresses with his heaviness and power. His father's gloomy appearance contrasts with the rainbow landscape. The woman running away in the background emphasizes the importance of the father figure, causing conflicting emotions. In the work "Portrait of My Father" (1923), the threatening anxiety emanating from the massive figure of Dali Sr. is intensified by his heavy gaze, as if observing his son.

Returning to the difficult family relations in the Dali family, we note one more fact. The tension in the relationship with his father was aggravated by his marriage to Aunt Catalina immediately after the death of his mother in February 1921 (such a marriage is called incest of the second type) [7]. Throughout his life, Salvador Dali did not leave longing for his dead mother and her image, which affected his relationship with Gala, one of whose functions was maternal. Transferred to Gala, the maestro's pathological attachment to his mother leads to the fact that he elevates the muse to the level of a superwoman. It is "Gala Gradiva - the one that leads forward" [3, p. 3] that the maestro's work is dedicated to. Gala has turned into an indestructible rock, protecting the vulnerable nature of the Spaniard from fears and anxieties. But at the same time, the Gala Rock inspired horror, encroaching on the personal spaces of the genius and often making him a slave ("Imperial Monument to a woman-child", 1929). It is known that the woman imposed on the genius a "literally ferocious schedule of painting work", the violation of which "infuriated the Gala" and she began to "lock up Dali until he finished working on burning orders" [15]. The canvas "Ultramarine-corpuscular Ascension of the Mother of God" (1952) became "the culmination of the female will to power, in the Nietzschean sense of the word: a super-woman rises to heaven with the courageous power of her antiprotons" [5, p. 231]. The painting demonstrates the dominant role of the Gala in the artist's life, turning into a victim and periodically rebelling against this role.

In general, the family drama affected the Spaniard's psyche, dispelling many illusions about family life and its harmony. The boy "expressed his attitude to the sexual life of his parents and the infidelity of his father through the functions of urination or defecation" [12, p. 16]. Arranging tantrums, Salvador Dali (often in front of strangers) he could urinate [2; 7], which was his instrument of manipulative protection. Tantrums became a reaction to the inability to "regulate their relationship with their parents," so little Dali "gets the upper hand" over them with the help of this "infantile obsession"" [14, p. 154]. Moreover, since childhood, the Spaniard has shown interest in faeces [2; 3; 7]. To attract attention to himself, little Dali "laid out poop around the house in the most unexpected places" [2]. Subsequently, they became the objects of his paintings and diary observations. The above indicates the prolonged effect of the injury caused to the child, his need to consciously eliminate the consequences and an understanding of the impossibility of such a thing. The maestro nurtured persistent "dirty fantasies and extremely hostile desires for the complete elimination of selected persons, especially those who are close to him" [14, p. 125]. Thorough examination of excrement demonstrates a desire to understand the situation and eliminate the problem, which indicates the anal stage of child sexuality and its delay in adulthood. The anal zone of the personality embodies the conflict beginning, being "a model of coexistence, and then the mutual exclusion of two opposite tendencies" (containment and isolation) [14, p. 151]. A genius is characterized by a pattern of caring behavior towards the Self. Experiencing the will to release the contents of the intestine, which took the form of obsession, he was "unable to restrain his destructive impulses" [14, p. 151], which indicates self-doubt. Moreover, the anal organization has active and passive aspects: "activity appears due to the desire for mastery on the part of the musculature of the body, and the erogenous intestinal mucosa manifests itself as an organ with a passive sexual purpose" [12, p. 18]. As E. Erickson emphasized, a person traumatized in childhood is "not only infantile in his attitude to others, but also usually weakened in genital sexuality and prone to receiving explicit or secret satisfaction and consolation from other bodily zones" [14, p. 127]. The above has led to certain difficulties in the sexual sphere. According to J. Gibson, Salvador Dali had many "sexual complexes from concern about the size of his penis to fear of having an affair with a woman", "fears that he is impotent and a hidden homosexual" [2]. The very defiant behavior of Salvador Dali in a love relationship betrays his infantilism and life disappointment, the source of which were childhood traumas.

Difficulties in the sexual sphere are reflected in the work of a genius. As J. Gibson emphasizes, "he became the only artist who made masturbation the main theme of his work" [2]. Its elements appear in the work "The Device and the Hand" (1927), hinting at the process of satisfying sexual needs. A huge number of works were devoted to the topic of sex and related fear ("The Great Masturbator", 1929, "Enlightened Pleasures", 1929, "Invisible lion, horse and sleeping woman", 1930, "Tower of Pleasure", 1930, "The Birth of fluid desires", 1932, "Sex-appeal in the guise ghosts", 1932, "A dream laying a hand on a man's back", 1934, "Honey is sweeter than blood", 1941, "Sodom self-satisfaction of an innocent virgin", 1954, etc.).

Another traumatic situation of childhood was the peculiar idea of parents about the upbringing of their son. On the one hand, there was a cult of little Dali in the family. He was adored, encouraged pranks, fulfilled whims [3; 7]. Excessive parental love and guardianship led to Salvador Dali's understanding of his exclusivity, forming a self-supporting narcissism [3, p. 113]. All his life, the genius remained a spoiled child, selfishly demanding love. The behavioral algorithms of a narcissistic personality are based on a deep conviction that she is not loved, so she constantly demands attention and experiences chronic dissatisfaction, even if her desires are satisfied by others. Narcissus lives by the principle of here and now, he constantly needs attention, care, and reverence. This manifests a kind of insatiability of the narcissistic type of character, which causes discomfort and unpleasant experiences both to the individual himself and to people around him [11].

On the other hand, the parents convinced little Dali of the existence of an ideal, the role of which was determined by his deceased brother, who had a similar name [2; 3; 7; 15]. In the family, the boy was inspired that he was a double of his deceased brother, whose soul settled in the newborn Salvador [2; 3; 7; 15]. In the eyes of the father, the son was half of the deceased, which caused the future genius boundless suffering. The young Spaniard was particularly touched by his father's phrase that he "will never become like the other one" [7, p. 74]. The characteristic of the one, the other will form the basis of the life and work of Salvador Dali, for whom everything will become dual. In the work of the Spaniard, double images are found, which disoriented people when perceiving and interpreting paintings. Salvador Dali himself commented on the method of doubling images in the following way: it gives "such a reproduction of an object that at the same time, without any anatomical and physical modification, is a reproduction of another object, completely different" [5, p. 146]. The double images on the canvases of the genius misled and confused the audience, which is what Salvador Dali sought, revealing and hiding his injuries.

The ideal of the elder brother created by the parents and his projection on the life of the future genius became a source of Self-repression, "the formation of the narcissistic ideal of the Self" [11]. Parents attributed the best qualities to the deceased child as an ideal, which the second son born after his death should have possessed [2; 3; 7; 15]. The current situation testified to a kind of transfer of parental dreams of an ideal child to a real son. Father and mother constantly reminded young Dali of his brother, comparing him with the deceased [2; 3; 7; 15]. From little Salvador formedAnother, giving birth to a conflict situation in his inner world. It was no coincidence that he threw tantrums on any occasion [2; 7]. Gradually growing up, the Spaniard began to play the role of Another more consciously. OwnI he replaced the ideal Self, yielding to the desire of his parents to see him as a dead brother. But the parental ideal and the Dalian ideal Self were not identical to each other. Without fully realizing the real state of affairs, the parents loved the ideal Self in the child, specially designed for them. Over time, the artist began to be oppressed by the power of his parents (especially his father). Narcissistic Salvador became irritated by the comparison with his dead brother. His parents' "indignation against this censorship instance" was also conditioned by the goal of diverting attention from homosexual libido [11]. The split personality is present on many canvases of genius. Let us recall the characteristic of the painting "Metamorphoses of Narcissus" (1936-1937), given by the artist himself. If you look at the "motionless figure of Narcissus for a long time, then gradually it will begin to disappear ... the image of Narcissus suddenly transforms into the image of the hand that arises from himself. This hand holds an egg, a seed, an onion with its fingertips, from which a new Narcissus flower is born" [7, p. 393]. The multiplicity of the picture symbolically conveys the complexity of the nature of a genius who is constantly parting with his Self to please others. He wrote about this in his paranoid poem: "Narcissus cancels himself in cosmic vertigo" [5, p. 195].

The split genius was the source of another injury. The image of the ideal Self How did I do the other oneI Salvador was given invisible and not recognized. The Dalian Self began to disintegrate, risking disappearing altogether, which became a source of unconscious anxiety for the young Spaniard. A mirror came to the genius's aid. He was fascinated by it from childhood [3], because the mirror helped to assert his Self and create an imaginary ideal Self, translating it into the plane of reality. The mirror "favored the narcissistic practice of dreamy reflections" [6, p. 220]. As a child, Salvador stood for hours in front of a mirror in which he was completely reflected, thereby mastering his face and body [3]. The mirror as an instrument of vanity and ambition helped "to evaluate oneself, to dream about oneself, to fantasize about oneself, to reflect on oneself, to change oneself" [6, p. 243], which satisfied the needs of the narcissistic nature of the Spaniard and exalted him.

The mirror captivated the future king of surrealism with its artificiality and illusions, replacing "reality with its exact (symmetrical) copy", in which "reflections and all sorts of cunning tricks play their roles" [6, p. 208]. The mirror involved Salvador Dali in the space of the game of reality with surreality, helping to make discoveries, draw inspiration and give birth to ideas. Looking in the mirror, the genius created an image that others wanted to see. The love of the mirror highlights Dalian narcissism and its dual essence. In genius, I and the ideal Me tried to get along, I am internal/subjective/fearful and I am external/outrageous/narcissistic. The mirror turned out to be the border zone where truth and deception were being rebuilt. "The consciousness of oneself coincides first of all with the awareness of its reflection, i.e. with the awareness of its image and its visibility, i.e. its ability to be visible" [6, p. 208]. Being in front of a mirror, a narcissistic personality chooses between the evidence of reality and the ideal image, curtsiing towards the latter. It turned out to be an internal invisible crack of genius, giving rise to discomfort in the soul and consciousness. The accumulation of suppressed negative emotions during the splitting of the personality into the Self and the ideal Self led to conflicts with loved ones. As is known, strict control and pressure on the child's vital activity, which "are not sufficiently coordinated with his internal regulation, can cause a cycle of anger and anxiety in the baby" [14, p. 191]. Part of the aggressiveness associated with the suppression and repression of the Ego was also manifested in the Dalian ideal Ego in the form of shocking behavior and the realization of shameful dreams. We emphasize that the genius treated his true Self with reverence, carefully protecting him from outsiders. Sometimes, forgetting himself, the maestro opened it a little, but immediately veiled it through scandalous antics and antinomic judgments. This disclosure exasperated the genius, and he became aggressive [2; 7; 8; 15]. Deviation from the ideal Self in life was a source of anxiety for the maestro, which led to the demonstration of his unbearable character to others.

Games with a mirror were fraught with new dangers. Experiencing pleasure from his own nakedness, Salvador Dali began to show a passionate attraction to himself [2; 3; 7]. The sexuality of the young artist was autoerotic, and his narcissistic nature contributed to the exaggeration of this quality, which later reflected in the appearance of many deviations. The Spaniard, after admiring his own genitals and learning to masturbate, began to show "great interest in the genitals of his comrades" [12, p. 14], which nurtured both homosexual libido and voyeurism. Manic narcissism with reflection develops in the boy a "painful desire to look and see" [13, p. 271]. The narcissistic personality begins to look for the object of love, based on his own image. Salvador Dali aspired in love to an individual like himself. The "desire to examine the body and see the organs hidden from the eyes" that woke up quite early in the child "triggers in the boy ... the fear of castration" [13, p. 271]. The latter is based on the fear of dismemberment, which embodies the horror of life. The young genius has an overwhelming fear of losing his penis. The castration complex, which remained in the memory of the genius, is most clearly expressed in the canvas of 1950, as indicated by its name: "I am at the age of six, when I believe I have become a girl, but for now, with great care, I lift the skin of the sea to examine a dog that sleeps under the shade of water."

The inconsistency of parenting and playing with the mirror led to the fact that already in childhood, Salvador became an ambivalent personality, acting in different directions and experiencing ambivalent feelings about everything. He was torn apart by conflicting emotions, simultaneously accepting and rejecting situations/people. So, shocked by the death of his mother, the young man vowed to resurrect her in the rays of his glory. But a few years later, Salvador Dali will write in the picture: "Sometimes I enjoy spitting on the portrait of my mother" [2]. The boy hesitated in making decisions, often not finding a way out. Feeling favor with some people, he caused (unintentional) harm to others. In the life of Salvador Dali, creation and destruction were side by side, which gave him a certain discomfort. The genius alternately identified himself, "then with the father variability, aggressive dynamic principle, the instinct of life, then with the mother immutability, static principle, attraction to death" [9]. In the Dalian judgments, opposite propositions were put forward, simultaneously accepted as the truth. Exaltation and denial of the Self are the two poles that formed the basis of the life of Salvador Dali. He was an insecure man, constantly glorifying himself. His exclamation "I am the great Salvador" sounds at the same time like a denial. Here the "Freudian Verneinung, the mechanism of protection of the unconscious, which is based on the assertion of the negated," is triggered [9]. The duality of the worldview allowed Salvador Dali to balance on the edge of the permissible and the extravagant [2; 3; 7; 8; 10; 15]. The signature Dalian style is "tearing off the covers and careful disguise", constant "readiness for any surprises" [7, p. 7, 12], falling into extremes, inconsistency and demonstration of the duality of situations. The genius spent his whole life maneuvering between mental balance and frustration, silence and theatrical outrageousness, pacification and tossing, self-conceit and uncertainty. The impermanence of the manifestations exposed the uncertainty of Salvador Dali, "torn between numerous plans that he discovers in himself, balancing between his mask and his face, between himself and himself" [7, p. 54]. Dalian ambivalence is evident in his work, especially in his self-portraits (1920, 1921, 1923). Demonstrating the narcissism and narcissism of a genius, they simultaneously emphasize his loneliness, eccentricity, alienation, abandonment. Despite the fact that Salvador puts his figure in the center of the canvas, but at the same time it turns out to be "as if in exile, even in dispersion, forming a diaspora of itself, not amenable to assimilation, not wanting to assimilate" [5, p. 7].

In conclusion, we highlight the following points. In the childhood of Salvador Dali, traumatic situations are revealed, among which are the trauma of birth, the violation of marital fidelity by the father, the suggestion from the parents of the ideal in the form of a deceased brother, self-admiration of the reflection in the mirror. The intra-family atmosphere and contradictory upbringing contributed to the formation of narcissism and ambivalence of the genius, who later manifested himself paradoxically, outrageously, ambiguously. The traumatic childhood experience left a mark on the life of Salvador Dali, becoming a source of inspiration and creativity. This fact indicates a prolonged effect of childhood traumatic experience. In the maestro's works we meet with the ghosts of childhood traumas, which he poetized, believing that they contain the eternal beauty of eternal destruction (p. Given). The constant return to the traumatic experience in his own paintings indicates a fixation on traumatic episodes of childhood. Through creativity, the maestro partially overcame anxiety states, realized their causes, moved away from the conflict of being with himself / other people, showed his own Self, drew attention to his own person, part of which was insecure and insecure.

The study of childhood episodes of genius on the basis of autobiographical notes and creative heritage, research (biographical and psychoanalytic) literature with the application of comparative and retrospective analysis methods to them allows us to use a similar logical approach to the life of other artists, revealing the origins of creativity and style features. Thanks to this, some artistic symbols receive a new interpretation, expanding the understanding of the inner world of their creator and deepening knowledge about the problems of the creative process.

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