This thoroughly bizarre museum is less a monument to Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech (to use his full name) than a series of snapshots of corners of his psyche all collaged together inside a carnival funhouse. It helps to know a little bit about the artist. He began his career in the 1920s as one of Spain’s three enfants terribles (the others were Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel). For most of his life, Dali was engaged in an obsessive and dependent relationship with Elena Ivanova Diakonova, known as Gala. He remained tenaciously loyal to her until her death in 1982 (although the same can’t be said of Gala toward Dalí).
Many of the works in the Teatre-Museu relate to this relationship and Dalí’s complicated feelings about sexual intimacy. It took the artist a long time to assemble the museum, since he made all the initial placements of objects. It finally opened in 1974. When the artist died in 1989, thousands of artifacts and artworks from throughout his life passed to the Gala-Salvador Dalí Fundació, which maintains the museum, and the exhibits have been moved around—but not so much to jeopardize Dali’s claim that it is the largest surreal object in the world. Dalí spent his final 4 years living adjacent to the museum in the Torre Galatea, named for Gala. He was buried beneath the theater’s great dome, which he had painted as the eye of a fly as seen through a microscope. Also painted on the ceiling are portraits of himself and Gala as seen from below the ground. (You’re looking at them feet first.) Don’t miss the artist’s first Cadillac in the courtyard, where it rains inside the car.
- Frommer's Staff