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Dali Museum Architecture

The Dali Museum in Figueres is home to a world-renowned collection of Surrealist art by Salvador Dali.

Once you enter the museum, you will discover that Dali was more than just a painter; he was a prolific multimedia artist.

The museum has a library and archive containing books and documents related to Dali’s life and work. 

It also serves as a center for research into his life and works and is a popular tourist attraction in the city.

Dali intended to organize this self-curated museum in no thematic or chronological order.

You will notice the room labeling, so you can explore all 22 without missing anything.

Dali Museum Architecture Details

The Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain, is a stunning work of art in its own right. 

The building was originally the Municipal Theatre of Figueres, destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. 

It was later converted into the Dali Museum, with renovations starting in 1960.

Joaquim de Ros I Ramis and Alexandre Bonaterra design the Dali Musem architecture.

The building features a mix of styles, including Surrealist and Art Nouveau elements, with unexpected details and playful elements.

The museum’s exterior is instantly recognizable by its striking red and white facade adorned with giant eggs and gold sculptures. 

The museum’s entrance features a large glass geodesic dome, which the architects added to provide more natural light to the interior spaces. 

The dome is decorated with colorful circular motifs and is supported by slender white columns.

The museum’s interior is a labyrinthine maze of galleries and spaces that house an impressive collection of Dali’s works.

The Dali Museum architecture perfectly reflects Salvador Dali’s unique style and vision, making for a truly unforgettable visit. 

It is intentionally surreal and whimsical, with unexpected details and playful elements throughout, making it a work of art in its own right.

The Facade 

At the beginning of the 1960s, the then-mayor of Figueres, Ramon Guardiola, asked Salvador Dali to donate his art to the Museu de l’Emporda. 

And Dali replied by dedicating an entire museum. 

The museum’s facade is made of glass and concrete and has a modernist architectural design. 

A large garden surrounds the building and evokes the Surrealist landscapes in Dali’s work.

One can easily recognize the Dali Museum’s vibrant pink walls covered with bread rolls.

Dali has always considered bread one of his “oldest fetishist and obsessive subject matter.”  Bread is a mainstay in the Spanish pantry and, like art, is always suitable for devouring. 

The renowned carbs are also depicted in the well-known 1945 artwork The Basket of Bread.

On the roof of the building sits huge eggs and Oscar-like- statues.

Eggs are another common theme in his work, representing new birth, hope, and love. 

You’ll also notice the egg in his artwork, such as Eggs on the Plate (Without the Plate).

Plaza Gala Salvador Dali Figueres

The square owes its name to Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala Dalí.

The square is directly outside the museum, containing a collection of sculptures depicting Dal’s diverse interests, including science and Catalan philosophy.  

A sculpture honoring the Catalan philosopher Francesc Pujols is also on display below. 

You will see the memorial monument of Catalan philosopher Francesc Pujols in front of the museum.

Dali’s sculpture honors the great scientist Isaac Newton and can be found on the stairs leading to Carrer de la Jonquera.

Apart from this, the square is a popular tourist destination and a local meeting point, with several restaurants, bars and cafés surrounding it.

The Dali Museum Interior

The Dali Museum Interior
Image: Tiqets.com

The museum’s interior is a maze of galleries and spaces that are connected by narrow corridors and stairs. 

Visitors are led on a surreal journey through Dali’s mind, with unexpected details and playful elements around every corner.

The Courtyard 

The courtyard houses a real Cadillac of Dali named “Rainy TAXI,” also known as Mannequin Rotting in a Taxi-Cab.

It is a three-dimensional artwork consisting of two mannequin occupants.

In the front seat is a shark-headed male chauffeur, and in the back is a woman. 

The woman wears an evening gown, has tousled hair with lettuce and chicory growing all around her body, and live snails crawling all over.

You can put a coin in the slot on the front right-hand wheel, and it will start raining inside the taxi.
The Cadillac has a sculpture of a full-figured Queen Esther chained to a column of tires on top of it by Ernst Fuchs.

The Cupola 

Cupola is one of the most striking features of the building’s exterior. 

It is a large glass structure that was added to the museum during renovations in the 1980s.

Cupola is decorated with colorful circular motifs and is supported by slender white columns.

The glass allows natural light to flood the museum’s interior, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. 

Another interesting installation in the museum is the Labyrinth, a large, winding tunnel with a unique, mirrored ceiling. 

The hall features the massive Labyrinth painting surrounded by red velvet curtains.

On the left side of the wall, you will see the massive Dali’s Gala Contemplating Labyrinth painting. 

Dali was fascinated with perception, playing with the optical scales to create several images.

A clever double image, indeed. At first glance, it looks like a picture of Abraham Lincoln.

However, moving closer, you will see a picture of Gala’s nude backside as she gazes outside a window.

The Labyrinth is a tribute to the human spirit and its infinite possibilities; it has several rooms, each with a different theme.

Visitors can explore the different areas and contemplate the artwork as they move through the winding paths.

Fishmongers’ Hall (The Sala de Peixateries)

Fishmongers’ Hall (The Sala de Peixateries)
Image: Scmp.com

This hall features a collection of Dali’s oil paintings, including the famous Soft-Portrait with Fried Bacon, the Persistence of Memory and the Portrait of Pablo Picasso.

The two Spanish artists had a political disagreement. 

Picasso was even referred to as “a destroyer of art” by Dali.

But later in life, the two well-known artists got together again.

The crypt containing Dali’s plain grave is beneath the former stage of the theater, at what Dali modestly claimed as Europe’s spiritual center.

The hall is also home to a range of sculptures by Dali, including the famous Mae West Lips Sofa and the Lobster Telephone. 

These sculptures are displayed on pedestals or on specially designed shelves, allowing visitors to view them up close and appreciate their intricate details.

Soft- Portrait with Fried Bacon

This self-portrait is a specter of irony, with a soft, amorphous face supported by crutches. (Dalí’s self-portrait).

The face stands on a  pedestal bearing the work’s title and a slice of fried bacon (symbolizing organic matter and Dalí’s daily breakfasts at the Saint Regis Hotel). 

Dalí drew inspiration from Michelangelo’s representation of himself in the Sistine Chapel.

Portrait of Pablo Picasso

Dalí’s “Moi aussi j’ai connu l’Empereur,”  is an allegorical portrait of Picasso.

From 25th November 1947 to 31st January 1948, the Bignou Gallery exhibited this painting.

Dalí wanted it to be part of his permanent collection in the Dalí Theatre-Museum of Figueres and placed it opposite his 1941 Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon. 

The painting features Roman numerals for the XXI century.

It also had symbols such as a carnation, goat’s horns and mandolin representing  Picasso’s intellectualism, an exaltation of ugliness and sentimentalism in Picasso’s paintings.

Dali’s Persistence of Memory

A tapestry of the Persistence of Memory displays melting pocket watches.

The painting is originally an oil painting on canvas currently displayed at the MOMA in New York City.

According to Dali, the clocks represent time’s “softness” and “hardness.”

He got the idea of melting watches when watching Camembert cheese melt in the sun. 

The painting’s background features the Catalonia scenery surrounding the Cap de Creus and Roses.

Mae West Room

The Mae West Room is a 3D living room installation with custom-built furniture of a red sofa, a double fireplace for a nose and paintings of eyes. 

As you walk up the stairs and peer through the blond hair sculpture, you will discover the room transforms into Mae West’s face.

The red lip sofa had multiple interpretations, like Dalis’ other creations.

Dali was charmed by West and loved her saying, “To err is human, but it feels divine.”

Palace of The Wind Dali Museum Figueres

Palace of The Wind Dali Museum Figueres
Image: Egecita.com

The poem “L’ Emporda” by Joan Maragall is the inspiration behind this ceiling painting in the room of the Palau del Vent.

The painting depicts a unique perspective of Dali and his wife, Gala, reaching for the heavens. 

You can also see silhouettes of the Spanish royal couple and elephants with thin insect legs. 

In Dali’s body, you will notice an open empty drawer, a common symbol of emptiness.

Bust of Velásquez Metamorphosing into Three Conversant Figures

A tribute to Diego Velázquez, a Spanish painter whom Dali regarded as a master.

A bronze sculpture painted with oils replicates ‘Las Meninas’ on the forehead, transforming the eyes into two gentlemen and the ears into armchairs. The nose, mustache and beard depicted a nun kneeling in prayer with prayer her back to us.

The Dali Theater Museum Virtual Tour

The Salvador Dali Museum offers a virtual tour of its collection. 

You can view a 360-degree tour of the museum, which includes an overview of the Dali Museum architecture and collection and a look at the galleries and exhibitions. 

The virtual tour includes audio and video clips of Dali’s works and information about the artist and his life.

Virtual Tour – https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/museums/dali-theatre-museum-in-figueres/visita-virtual/ 

Grab your Dali Museum tickets today and explore this artistic place by yourself. 

Booking Dali Museum with Hotel Pick-up is the perfect way to save time and fully enjoy this mesmerizing artistic destination.

Featured Image: NYtimes.com

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