The Gulf Coast of Florida teems with museums, with one of the biggest draws being the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, less than an hour from Sarasota. Housed in a modern building downtown near the waterfront, the museum is the talk of the town. I decided, it was time I visited the works of the genius Spanish painter.
The facade itself is a work of art. The grounds feature dripping clocks, mustache sculptures, and a walking maze carved out of hedges. A glass speculum wraps around the exterior to amplify both the modernism of the building and the iconic art inside.
The extensive collection of works by Dali range from his early paintings as a young
man to more recent and famous pieces. A docent leads an hour tour, which I recommend. Although the admission buys you a headset and guide, the docent adds details one would never hear about otherwise. She began with an explanation of an early work by Dali which explores the artist’s dead brother, Dali’s resentment at being the “replacement child,” his detachment from his father, and his fear of grasshoppers — all of which is symbolized with dreamlike imagery.
Another exhibit featured Dali’s collaboration with Walt Disney. The two met after
Disney sent Dali a fan letter, and they subsequently became lifelong friends. My first thought was that the two artists seemed disparate in temperament and design; I hadn’t realized that Dali influenced Disney’s Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland. The exhibit also features an auditory and visual sensory experience that takes the viewer on a three-dimensional ride into the mystical landscape of one of Dali’s paintings — the participants soar in and out of the surreal images. Beats any ride at Disney World!
Photographer George Brassai best sums up the eccentric artist: “[I] liked his comic humor… his complexity, his weirdness and wild imagination, the ways his brain worked…Sometimes I liked his paintings as well.”
Always a bit controversial, the artist who started out by borrowing $500 from Picasso ended up a billionaire and a commercial success!
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”