The painting was written when Dali was only seventeen years old, although he tried to make himself older and give his appearance a character that was not characteristic of him.
1921 was the year when his mother died, and he himself left the house for the first time to become a student of the San Fernando Academy in Madrid. This tense, self-defeating self-portrait has a claim to invincible masculinity, which was probably intended to hide Dali’s extreme shyness; The same goal was served by the more well-known face of a mustachioed prankster and dandy.
The technique of painting here is quite literate, but imitative, – a smear and a palette give out the influence of impressionism, pointillism and other ‘modern’ trends that Dali will soon leave for the sake of sharpened ‘academic’ manner. In the background – the sea, the Costa Brava and the small fishing village of Kadak, which will play such an important role in life, and in the art of Dali.