Visiting the Salvador Dalí Museum

Recently my daughter found herself with a few days off in between semesters so we did want any sane Canadian would do and swapped our white snowy beaches for white sandy ones. In a rare and unexpected weather week, we encountered the coldest temperatures Florida has seen in decades. This led us to visits to some inside venues – including the highly recommended Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. Let me show you a little of what we found…

The building itself is a lovely homage to Dalí’s use of opposing shapes and the fibonacci sequence with a garden in the back. 

Dalí was inspired by many other influential figures including Pablo Picasso and Sigmund Freud – you can certainly see indications of this in his pieces. What I enjoy most about his work is that there is so much to see, on many levels. You can see new things each time you look at a painting. 

This museum, or gallery, shows his paintings from early to later works. Included in the entry fee is an audio tour, and a 3 minute virtual reality tour. The cafe and gift shop on the main floor are worth checking out as well. 

Some of our favourite pieces included Dalí’s portrait of his sister – painted first in a traditional pose, then later, after a falling out that lasted the rest of his life, he modified the image to show an alternative and less flattering version painted over top of the original. 

There are so many details in these paintings and each signify something that could include personal opinions, comments about the social issues of the times, scientific discoveries and more. There are extensive theories about the significance of each which is one of the best parts of his work – trying to guess his intentions. Perhaps in some cases he had nothing specific in mind but just wanted to baffle people. 

Surrealism was originally a movement from the early 1900’s and it’s goal was to release creativity from it’s traditional boundaries. Inspiration can come from dreams or when you do something automatically without thinking. Things that don’t usually go together in the traditional sense fit in to this category. I think that is what appeals to me most – the surprises this generates. 

Some of my favourite Dalí quotes include:

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.”

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

“The one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.”

I love hearing all about each of the paintings and would love to know more. I hope to go back again one day. If you get down to Florida make sure you stop in to check this museum out. I think it is the kind of place where you will see something new each time, just like the art of Salvador Dalí. 

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