According to my phone, I was in the beautiful town of Figueres on the 2nd August 2012 searching for the palace-like museum Salvador Dali created back in 1974.
I traveled Europe the summer I turned 18 and have been meaning to document it since. That trip was probably the best £1000 I spent, after saving so hard, despite travelling with my now-ex boyfriend.
So every now and then I’ll throw in a few highlights of the places that stick out to me most, and where better than beautiful Spain. Dali’s museum was pretty much top of my list of places to visit, and lived up to and beyond my expectations, so why not share if any of you are going to pop to Barcelona any time soon!
An hour long queue in 40° heat after already travelling for about a week and a half wasn’t ideal. Fortunately for me, I was excited and probably slightly delirious as I waited eagerly with my €12 ticket.
The building was what dreams are made of. Literally (Dali was huge on the unconscious) and about as close as I’d get to being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Eggs, baguettes, naked people and enough little details to make me salivate were to be discovered as the line slowly shifted, along with some cute puns and accordion music as we waited.
The town of Figueres was odd for me. I know that just because someone huge came out of a small place, doesn’t mean everyone has to like them, but the distance between the humble life of the locals compared to such a strange, boastful and incredible place was amusing. Makes me wonder if most of them had ever bothered to visit.
You stumble in to a wide, open foyer, guarded so defiantly by this incredible lady. If I remember correctly there was a Rolls Royce next to her and all kinds of miscellaneous imagery but the whole thing was a bit of a blur with the sheer amount of people inside.
It’s only now that I’m older do I see where Dali’s inspiration came from, he just gets better and better. It’s all in the details.
The foyer is round, which means you end up following the sea of people around the curved hallways, jumping in and out of the sea every so often to catch a closer glimpse. If I had the whole place to myself I could’ve spent weeks in there, the collection was enormous. However, time, heat, crowds and hunger meant I spent only 4 hours or so in total.
Looking unimpressed in one of the alcoves. I was so excited and happy, really… Just fearing for my health during crowds and extreme temperatures – I’d recommend going in the winter!
Most of the museum was quite dimly-lit, I suppose to preserve the paints and rich colours of the wallpaper. However, another large foyer bathed in beautiful Spanish sunlight was perfect for taking a sip of water while staring at huge nipples and geometric designs hidden in every nook. The colours were incredible, I can’t even explain how much of a feast this whole place was for my eyes. It was what I imagine a DMT hallucination feels like.
I was thrilled to see Leda Atomica, 1949 in person. One of my favourites!
As I said, it was such a blur of information, it really did put you in another world. I can’t help but think Dali did that deliberately, especially when it feels like you’re strolling around his brain when you’re in the midst of it all.
Different rooms and corridors branch off from the foyer, one of which was a bedroom that could surely only be used by Hedy Lamarr or someone equally as glamorous. It was this bedroom and Dali Jewels (which I’ll get to later) which really portrayed Dali’s lust for luxury, flamboyance and indulgence.
What I really enjoyed about the museum, other than the obvious, was to see more of Dali’s sculptures and furniture. Of course his paintings and drawings are beyond words, but it’s fascinating to see the same skill inflicted on 3D objects and ready-mades.
As far as I know, he had a few other artists’ work there too, like Marcel Duchamp, which makes sense. Read more on Wikipedia.
So many amazing pieces from his personal collection too, it really showed his interests and progression, but also where he drew inspiration from. This rock portrait above makes complete sense to me after a 12 hour train journey through Spain – the landscape and cliffs really do look like faces after some time…
This was a nice lead up to the Dali Jewels exhibition, which was just next to the main museum, down a little alleyway. The ticket included it, and it was much less crowded, so why not?
I don’t even have words for these, just look:
Topped off with a 6′ version of the moustache. You could imagine the giftshop I’m sure.
Anyway, the point is if you’re in or near Barcelona then hop on the train for half an hour and visit this place. It’s awe-inspiring and completely refreshing for those of you that don’t like traditional museums. Also, Dali is buried underneath in the crypt, so you can sort of go and say hola!
What do you think? Do you like Salvador Dali? Would you ever visit?