One of the most popular attractions in St. Petersburg, Florida is The Dali Museum, a museum dedicated completely to Spanish Surrealist Painter, Salvador Dali. I took 4 semesters of Spanish in college so I was familiar with Dali and studied some of his work, but my knowledge of him was really very vague. When I learned that The Dali Museum was one of the top attractions in St. Pete I knew I wanted to eventually check it out.
Earlier this Spring my parents made the trip to St. Petersburg for a work conference my dad was attending. St. Pete is roughly 1.5 hours north of where I live so I made the trip up to spend a few days with them and explore more of the area. St. Petersburg is often over shadowed by its big brother across the bay, Tampa, but it really is a unique city with its own personality.
The Dali Museum
Dali became famous for his paintings that stretched the boundaries of art. He had an amazing ability to be able to take the thoughts, dreams, and settings from his mind and perfectly place them on to canvas. Much like the dreams of you and I can be scattered, hallucinatory, and have double meanings, Dali was able to translate all of this into masterful art work. The painting pictured below is one of Dali’s many works that have double meanings. Can you see both pictures in this painting?
Throughout his career he Dali was inspired and moved by several different aspects. Some of his largest pieces of work were inspired by religion, rulers in the world, and conflicts in the world. Some of his other works were inspired by his family. His father, brother, sister, and wife all provided inspiration for some of Dali’s masterpieces. The painting below is of Dali’s wife, Gala.
Most of Dali’s works show some sort a distorted dream sequence and often include elements that can have multiple meanings. Nothing in Dali’s paintings is ever random. Each aspect of every single piece is put there to add some type of meaning.
The Persistence of Memory
One of the most well-known Dali paintings is pictured above and entitled, The Persistence of Memory. This painting is said to represent the dream like sequence of time and also the childhood of Dali. The tree in the upper left corner is dead and dried out representing the past that is dead and gone. The melting clocks represent time fading away and the loss that Dali feels about the times of his youth that have passed.
Dali and Disney
One of the things I learned that I had absolutely no clue about at all is that Dali was good friends with Walt Disney. They were such good friends, that there was a rotating exhibit at the Dali Museum called ‘Dali and Disney’ that is dedicated completely to their working relationship with one another throughout their lives.
The friendship of Dali and Disney was so random to me at first, but the more I thought about it and the more I went through the ‘Dali and Disney’ exhibit the more I could see the similarity between the two men.
Dali took painting and art work to a level that no one of his time ever had before. His work was risqué, bold, and often controversial, but it forever changed the way people viewed art. By the same token, Disney and his vision for cinema broke new ground in the animation world, and then transformed the entire world of entertainment and cinema.
Both my mom and I really enjoyed the Dali Museum and thought it was well worth the visit. The building itself features stunning architecture both inside and out, and the amount Dali’s work that is featured is incredible. The audio tour was so through explaining each piece and what was going on in the Dali’s life and in the world that inspired him. I also appreciated how the audio tour gave me the freedom go at my own pace and out of order if I wished.
My only complaint about the Dali Museum was the price to get in. General admission for guests ages 18-64 is a whopping $24 (more expensive that some museums in both New York City and Chicago! YIKES!). There is a senior citizen rate of $22 for anyone over 65, but even students 17 and under are $17.
If you go
- The Dali Museum is open daily from 10am-5:30pm
- General admission for adults is $24 per person
- The exhibits are toured via an audio tour
- If you plan to tour both exhibits budget around 2 hours
- The Dali and Disney exhibit was a rotating exhibit and has since closed. A new rotating exhibit will be opening shortly after and be there through Fall 2016.