At the Salvador Dali museums in Costa Brava, nothing is what it seems at first sight. The works of the great master first grab your attention with their intriguing appearance, then tease you with their cunning metaphors and finally tempt you to imagine a surreal world, where no boundaries exist and where everything is possible. Strolling through the Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres, I stopped for a moment and wondered what it would be like to peek into the mind of Salvador Dali; the brilliant mind that created these fascinating masterpieces. I thought about the movie, “Being John Malkovich”, in which a group of friends discover a secret door that leads directly into the mind of John Malkovich. They soon conduct tours and guests are able to go on a stroll through the famous actor’s mind. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a similar tour through Dali’s mind were possible? To find out, I visited the three Dali museums or the Dali Triangle – the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, the Casa Dalí in Port Lligat and the Gala-Dalí Castle in Púbol – dedicated to the life and work of Salvador Dalí.
The museums of the Dalí Triangle
Dalí Theatre Museum
Dalí joined the Surrealism movement in 1929 and quickly became the movement’s biggest champion. His highly imaginative, surrealistic works never fail to fascinate. They make you stare and think. Seamlessly blending many artistic styles, ranging from classic to avant-garde, with his own eccentricity, Dalí created provocative pieces of art. Questions cropped up in my mind as I walked through the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres (map). Why are there eggs on the roof? Why is it raining inside the Cadillac? Why are the watches in his most famous piece, “The Persistence of Memory”, melting? It made me want to learn more about the life of Salvador Dalí.
Salvador Dalí’s home, Casa Dalí, in Port Lligat
So, who was Salvador Dalí? He was obviously an eccentric, fun-loving character who saw every day scenes through different lenses. Who or what inspired him and what motivated him to create these ingenious works of art? I found many answers in the Biography room at the Dalí Theatre Museum but I got to learn a bit more about his personal life during our visit to the Casa Dalí in Port Lligat (map) the following day. We were lucky to have Antoni Pitxot, a former apprentice of the great master and a painter himself, guide us through Dalí’s former residence. Mr. Pitxot wowed us with his lovely personal accounts of what it was like to work and live with Salvador Dalí.
Mr. Pitxot took us on a tour around the house and filled his commentary with personal anecdotes. He sat in the chair he used to sit in as a young apprentice and told us fascinating stories about the flamboyant Dalí, his love for his wife and muse, Gala, his temperamental character, and his penchant for practical jokes. He showed us Dalí’s studio and his little study. The latter, with its photo-covered walls, was especially insightful.
Dalí settled in the small hamlet of Port Lligat because he fell in love with the ethereal light that reflected off the water of the bay. By the clever use of mirrors, he could lie in bed and enjoy the views of the harbour. He built a gorgeous path along the coast and called it the ‘Milky Way’. He and his wife, Gala, would dress in white cloaks and walk down this path in the moonlight to stare out to the harbour and breathe the lavender-infused air.
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Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol
I certainly got to know quite a bit more about Salvador Dalí by visiting his house in Port Lligat and the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol. Listening to Mr. Pitxot’s stories was a wonderful experience and afforded us a precious peek into Dalí’s life. If you find yourself wandering around the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres with many of the same questions in your mind, I highly recommend making a reservation for a visit to the Casa Dalí in Port Lligat and the Gala Dali Castle in Púbol. It may not be a tour through the mind of Salvador Dalí a lá ‘Being John Malkovich’ but visiting these Dali Museums just might answer some of your questions about this flamboyant, mysterious, master of surrealism.
Read other Velvet Escape posts on Costa Brava.