09:33 GMT25 February 2021
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    The body of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí was exhumed on July 20 for a DNA test, following a controversial Madrid court ruling in favor of a woman who claims to be his daughter. Sputnik recalls the top 10 weirdest things about the painter’s life.

    The exhumation of the body followed claims by 61-year-old tarot card reader Pilar Abel, who insisted that her mother had an affair with Dalí. In June, a Madrid judge finally ruled that a DNA test should be performed to find out whether that was true. Interestingly, experts said the artist's mummified remains were so well conserved that even his famous moustache remained intact 28 years after his death.

    The life of the Spanish surrealist painter was surrounded by mysteries. Here are some of them.

    Dead Brother Reincarnation

    Perhaps, this is one of the most unusual facts about Dalí. Before he was born, his mother had given birth to another child, also called Salvador Dalí who unfortunately died. Nine months after that, the Salvador we know was born. He resembled his deceased sibling so much that his parents believed he was actually a reincarnation of their dead son. They took him to their first son's grave and told him of their belief; since then, Dalí believed this to be true as well.

    Exclusion From Art School

    Dalí was expelled from art school… because he wanted to be. He refused to be examined for the art history final of his degree because he considered the school's professors incompetent to judge him.

    Deep-Sea Diving Suit Suffocation

    In 1936, during the London International Surrealist Exhibition, Dalí gave a lecture wearing an old-fashioned deep-sea diving suit. This was to represent how he existed at "the bottom of the sea of subconciousness." However, he nearly suffocated inside the soundproofed glass bowl, while his adoring listeners thought his exaggerated gestures were an amusing part of his act. As the artist nearly fainted, poet David Gascoyne came to the rescue with a spanner.

    Marriage to Friend's Wife

    Dali met the love of his life in 1929. It was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, better known as Gala, who was already married to French surrealist poet Paul Eluard. Nevertheless, it wasn't a big deal for Dalí: he conquered her heart and married Gala in 1934. She became the painter's muse and business manager.

    Hosting Weekly Orgies

    His wife Gala encouraged Dalí into an open marriage and hosting regular orgies. Cher was once invited to his house, along with her former husband Sonny and Francis Ford Coppola while an orgy was ongoing. However, Dali was said not to participate in the orgies himself: he only watched.

    Weird Fascination With Hitler

    Unlike other surrealists who were openly anti-fascist during the Nazi's rise, Dalí sympathized with Hitler and painted him. Those pieces of art include "The Enigma of Hitler" and "Hitler Masturbating." What's more, Dalí admitted he "often dreamed of Hitler as a woman" and that the Nazi dictator turned him on.

    Deep Meaning in Cauliflowers

    In 1955, Dalí filled up a white Rolls Royce Phantom II with 500 kilos of cauliflowers and drove it from Spain to France. As he later explained, the reason was that "everything ends up in the cauliflower!"

    Chupa Chups

    In 1969, Salvador Dalí designed the Chupa Chups logo. This was unusual for him but he said he would do anything for money.

    Starring in Commercials

    Dalí loved money so much that he even starred in commercials. Within the art community, he was even called "Avida Dollars," an anagram of his name signifying his greed. Dalí appeared in ads for Lanvin chocolates, brandy and even Alka Seltzer.

    A Castle for Gala

    Towards the end of his life Dalí moved to the Castell de Pubol, which he bought and remodeled for Gala. However, some people believe he may have bought it to hide from the public and to die in.


    Body of Salvador Dali Exhumed for DNA Tests as Part of Paternity Claim
    Salvador Dali to be Exhumed After Woman Claims to Be His Lovechild
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