Sunday, August 19, 2012

Journey to a Surreal Dimension: The Salvador Dali Museum

Journey to a Surreal Dimension:  The Salvador Dali Museum
By:  Chloe J. Roberts
August 18, 2012

The new Salvador Dali Museum is an art lover’s paradise.  The museum is home to the largest collection of the Spanish painter’s work located in this country.  Founded by passionate art enthusiasts A. Reynolds and Eleanor R. Morse, the museum is a treasure trove of over 200 oil paintings, watercolors, prints, photos, sculptures and drawings.  Inside the Dali gallery you will see many famous works from every period and every medium of Dali’s lifelong creative career ranging from his early still life and cubism paintings to his famous surreal masterpieces to his later post-surrealist creations. 
Dali’s art captures the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and the non sequitur.  The images depicted in his art are simultaneously detailed, vibrant, deeply symbolic and hauntingly mysterious.  Inside the museum you will find his most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, and seven of his masterworks, including Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and The Hallucinogenic Toreador.  

As you enter the museum you immediately ascend a helical staircase which leads to the upstairs gallery.  Inside the upstairs gallery you will discover a lifetime of Dali’s masterpieces and you will hear the story of the tortured artist with a flair for the dramatic.  As you view Dali’s immaculate paintings, you will learn that he was a man whose soul was filled with paradox.  At the age of 16, Dali lost his mother to cancer.  Dali felt his mother’s death was the greatest blow he had experienced in his whole life.  Reeling from her death, Dali went to art school in Madrid where he painted the still life art you will see at the entry of the gallery at the museum.  
As you stroll through the gallery you will see Dali’s soul unfold through his beautifully imaginative paintings.  Dali was a firm believer in Sigmund Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis.  Dali believed that surrealism was destructive, but it only destroyed the shackles limiting our own vision.   Like many past and present artists, he painted his dreams.  Dali’s primary inspiration was his troubled relationships and haunted subconscious. 
Inside the gallery you will see the painting that spawned the private collection which is now housed in the museum in its entirety.   After viewing the painting that started the museum, you will see Dali’s early still life art depicting fish, bread and colorful landscapes. Passing down the gallery you will see a few cubism works, mixed media dada pieces and many of his famous surreal masterworks.  You can also view an exhibition on the care and restoration of the paintings in the museum. 
Inside the new Salvador Dali Museum you will enjoy hours of viewing painting after painting brimming with extensive symbolism.   The one of a kind museum is conveniently located about an hour away in downtown St. Petersburg.  It was well worth the quick jaunt to see the beautiful and famous painter’s art and to hear the inspiring and heartbreaking story of Salvador Dali’s life.  

Chloe J. Roberts was born in Miami, Florida.  She is a lawyer, dramatic writer and an art enthusiast.

This is a Roving Oar Review