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Health and the Myrmidons

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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DOI: 10.3201/eid1805.ac1805
  • About The Cover
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  • Philosophy


Letters.indd ABOUT THE COVER “I’ll be a genius, and the world will admire me,” Salvador Dalí wrote in his diary at age 15. These confi dent words marked a journey of greatness started during childhood, in Figueres, Spain. In this rural town in Catalonia, steeped in artistic heritage, he started to read Voltaire, Nietzsche, Kant, Spinoza, and Descartes, and these philosophers’ notions on the nature of reality created in his mind an abiding sense of purpose. Much of Dalí’s boyhood was spent in his parents’ home at the coastal village of Cadaqués near Port Lligat, where he later made his own home. Rocks from the local beach found their way into many of his works. His early art education benefi ted from frequent visits with the family of artist Ramón Pichot and from studies at the Municipal School of Drawing in Figueres under engraver Juan Nuñez. Dalí’s earliest surviving works date from this period, during which he also wrote copiously and showed interest in cubism. Soon he entered the famed Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, where he met poet Federico García Lorca, who later published an ode in his honor, “O Salvador Dalí of the olive-colored voice / I do not praise your halting adolescent brush / or your pigments that fl irt with the pigments of your times / but I laud your longing for eternity with limits.” As a student in Madrid, Dalí got to know the Prado Museum and the cubist works of Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. Encouraged by the attention of his peers and association with Lorca, he ventured outside the restrictions and requirements of the school. Increasingly disenchanted, he was suspended and later expelled by the academy, as he was at some point to be expelled from the surrealist movement, again for unwillingness to color inside the lines. In a long period of experimentation also marked by personal notoriety, Dalí took his work in many directions, from a strictly academic style to cubi

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