Dalí World

Still Life Moving Fast, Salvador Dalí

Five surprising things about the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida:

The crowds. I never knew Salvador Dalí was so popular. In fact, I didn’t know anyone was this popular. It was a Friday morning and the place was absolutely mobbed. Typically we have museums to ourselves on weekdays, but not here. The crowds were so thick we couldn’t get near the paintings. At one point it got so bad that we considered leaving. Instead, we pulled up a bench and decided to wait them out. Why not? We had all day.

The cost. We’re not on vacation. Really, it’s true, we’re not. And we can’t spend like we’re on vacation because for us, it never ends. So when a small, single-artist museum asks us for $21 each, we have to consider whether the price is worth it. But the steep price tag, which doesn’t include a museum guide or audio tour (they’re extra), makes the crowds we faced all the more remarkable.

Dalí wasn’t all about Surrealism. I knew very little about the artist prior to visiting the museum, other than his flamboyant mustache and his Surrealist paintings. Turns out Dalí actually painted in numerous styles over the course of his career. The museum presents his work chronologically spanning 45 years, from Impressionism and Cubism to Surrealism and a classic period that focused on religion and science. He also dabbled in film and photography and created sculptures.

Skeletons are intriguing. I couldn’t help but marvel at the wonderfully strange mind that created images like a fast-moving still life, the artist Vermeer’s ghost doubling as a table, bicycle-pedaling skeletons balancing rocks on their heads, and the eloquently named “Atmospheric Skull Sodomizing a Grand Piano.”

I liked it. I’ve seen Dalí’s work in several other museums, but I never gave it much consideration. Mostly I just thought it was strange. But after spending more time with it I realized that there is a depth to his art that is quite remarkable. His use of symbolism with multiple meanings is so dense you can spend hours trying to deconstruct one of his works. Or, in the case of Lincoln in Dali Vision, just squinting at it reveals a hidden picture within the painting.

Ultimately, I walked out of the Dalí Museum not only having been entertained but surprised and informed as well. It was definitely worth the price of admission.

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  1. Two Continents, Double the Dalí | Everywhere Once - July 25, 2014

    […] beyond his curled, signature mustache and Surrealist paintings. In fact, as we discovered at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, there was much more to this multi-dimensional artist than a melting […]

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