The Salvador Dalí Museum is unlike any other museum that I’ve ever been to. Not just because of its contents, which are entirely interesting and unique. But mostly because Dalí did not allow the museum to be arranged in any logical or typical fashion. Dalí wanted the museum to be like him and his art ….all over the place!
“I want my museum to be like a single block, a maze, a great surrealist object. It will be an absolutely theatrical museum. People who come to see it, will leave it with the feeling of having had a theatrical dream.” – Salvador Dalí
One weekend during my time in Barcelona me and a few friends decided to do something different. We rented a car and drove north of Barcelona to Figueres, Spain. The home of the Dalí Theatre and Museum, and also the birth place of the artist himself, Salvador Dalí.
Opened in 1974, the museum was entirely designed by Dalí himself who wanted the space to recreate the experience of entering one of his pieces of art. Now you might think of the Dalí Theatre and Museum as just another museum… but think about it… Salvador Dalí and just an ordinary museum?
Since Dalí himself worked on the design and construction of the museum himself for its opening in 1974, and even afterwards, it is no surprise at all that this museum evolved into so much more.
Most of the shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars in Figueres pay tribute towards Dalí. You walk down the streets and you see Dalí’s name everywhere. And as you walk down all these streets all of a sudden you happen upon the museum itself… It looms out of nowhere on a seemingly normal street, bursting with pinks and yellows, and adorned with strange egg-shaped designs. The outside is weird and wonderful , channelling Dalí… but the outside is absolutely nothing compared to the inside.
Why is this museum so remarkable? Because Dali was so far ahead of his time in so many ways and he was truly a genius. His art was like nothing else.. Dalí made one of the first holographic paintings. When you see it from one angle you only see Abraham Lincoln’s face. When you look at it straight on you see Gala, Dali’s wife/muse in the nude in the middle of Lincoln’s face.
The museum displays the single largest and most diverse collection of works by Salvador Dalí, most of which were from the artist’s personal collection. In addition to Dalí paintings from all decades of his career, there are sculptures, 3-dimensional collages, mechanical devices, and other things you can hardly imagine. A highlight is a 3-dimensional anamorphic living-room installation with custom furniture that looks like the face of Mae West when viewed from a certain spot.
I have to admit, I had no idea that Dalí was so talented in many different mediums. He’s most famous for his surreal paintings of melting clocks and long-legged elephants, but Dalí worked in so many mediums: watercolour, illustration, 3D design and, most surprising, jewellery making. This beautiful museum showcases all of them!
This unique museum is certainly worth visiting, escaping from Barcelona for a day. If you leave early in the morning you can also plan a trip to the beautiful town of Girona which is absolutely beautiful!
A day trip to Figueres is definitely something I recommend. If you enjoy art, you will definitely enjoy the Dalí museum!