Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teatre-Museu Dali, Figueres, Spain--Part II

Yesterday, I gave an overview of Salvador Dali's museum in his home town. Here's some samples from some of the rooms in the museum.

On entering, visitors come to an open-air area where the stalls of the Municipal Theater (which had been bombed during the Spanish Civil War) were located. Now, several works adorn the area in a whimsical mish-mash of images. The Rainy Taxi is a Cadillac with a specially fitted interior--mannikins represent the driver and passenger who are sometimes rained on inside the vehicle. The hood of the car has a statue of Queen Esther by Austrian artist Ernest Fuchs. Behind these two is a tower of tires (inspired by Trajan's Column) on top of which is Gala's boat (Gala is Dali's wife). An odd assortment of mannikins and statues look on from the walls.

Rainy Taxi with Queen Esther on the front (two separate works of art)

Gala's boat

One of the walls

Beyond the courtyard is the cupola where the theater's stage once stood. The room is quite spacious and has many varied works.


The stage area (includes Gala Nude Looking at the Sea, which, at 18 Metres appears as President Lincoln from 1975 by Dali)

Copy of Michelangelo's Moses statue

Angel and Octopus over Moses

Further in and below is the Fishmongers' Crypt. After the bombing but before the museum, this room was used as the town's fish market! It's called a crypt because Dali is buried there. The displays include jewelry that Dali designed.

Tomb of Dali

A charm necklace?

Serpent pendant

Dragon chalice?

Dragon and egg

The Loggia Room is dedicated to optical tricks, like this painting of a skull that only looks like a skull when it is seen in a mirrored bottle!

Skull in a bottle?

The Mae West Room also creates a whimsical optical illusion. The furnishings of the room seem oddly incongruous but when viewed through a special lens at the top of a ladder, Mae West's face appears. The line for the ladder was too long but here's the incongruous bit.

Nose and lips of Mae West (no, really! Look at it here)

The name of the work is delightfully literal: Face of Mae West Which Can Be Used as an Apartment.

The most impressive room in the museum is the Palace of the Wind. It is the place where Dali's first exhibition happened in 1919 when he was just fourteen years old! The famous ceiling painting gives the room its name.

Part of The Palace of the Wind

Other side of the painting

Interestingly, the two people with their feet showing are Dali and Gala. The detail of the painting is quite astounding and full of symbolism, more than I could write about here.

The room has a lot of other works thrown into it.

Thinking about yoyos?

Perseus cutting off Medusa's Head; A Crossless Christ

Tapestry with a copy of The Persistence of Memory

The experience of the museum is rather overwhelming. There's so much in so many different styles with such varying attitudes, it's impossible to come away with one unified idea or an easy summation of the contents. Dali gave this explanation for the museum's fascination to visitors: is because it is not a place where a series of paintings hang from the wall as in the majority of museums, but because it is full of enigmas. You know that the success of all religions lies in their mysteries. Once everything has been explained didactically, there are no longer any mysteries, and therefore no reason to return. In this museum, however, the people who have come once return the next day because that is the exasperated continuity of subjective knowledge! (Letter to Georges Bornes for Le Figaro)
I would go back in a heartbeat to meander slowly through the oddly wonderful works of Salvador Dali.

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