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In the town of Figueres is the DalÍ Theatre-Museum. Catalan-born Salvador Dalí was a skilled artist but also an outlandish personality. The museum is one of three different museums called the Dalí Triangle (along with the Salvador Dalí House-Museum in Cadaques and Gala’s Castle in Pubol). It’s about 146 kilometers north of Barcelona, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re an art lover.
A pioneer in art, surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904. He was given the name Salvador after his brother, who had passed away. Little Salvador was an anxious and lonely child, but he had a passion for painting. He went to art school in Madrid, but he dropped out because he felt his art teachers didn’t understand art. He embraced alternative views and wanted to express his flamboyant style. He met Gala, a Russian woman, and entered into an affair with her. Eventually, they got married in 1934.
Dalí gradually because famous in the US for his outlandish art and character. At 32, he made the cover of Time magazine. But Dalí was also known to isolate himself, often accused of being insane. Salvador and Gala lived in New York City, where was commissioned to create art, designing furniture, jewelry, and paintings. In 1980, Dalí was forced into retirement because of his shaky hands. Salvador Dalí passed away in 1984 at the age of 84.
In 1973, Salvador Dalí, who was already world-famous, wanted to create a museum with his most renowned work. He chose an old building that was once the municipal theatre of Figueres, his hometown. He became involved in planning the museum, and is now has the single most expansive collection of surrealist art in the world.
At first glance, you’ll notice the flamingo-pink walls covered with small croissants. On the roof are humongous eggs and Oscar-like statues.
If you’re looking for very famous artworks by Dalí, unfortunately, they may not be here. For example, The Persistence of Memory (1939), which shows melting clocks, is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
What it does have, however, is The Basket of Bread and the Spectre of Sex-Appeal. Personally, my favorites is a furniture installation. You climb up a set of stairs, and they’re organized into a familiar face – that of actress Mae West.
The Rainy Cadilllac roo showcases the real Cadillac that he and Gala used when traveling in New York CIty.
Dalí not only wanted to showcase his own works but other renowned artists, such as Antoni Pitxot, El Greco, and Marcel Duchamp.
Check out the In another part of the theatre-museum is the crypt. In the Wind Palace room, be sure to look up! There, you’ll see a painting, Palace of the Wind. It shows the enormous feet of Dalí. In another part of the theatre-museum is the crypt of Dalí. You can visit this section and pay homage to the artist himself.
– If you are coming with kids, it will be a fun experience because many of the art pieces are interactive
– Parts of the museum are hard to access, so coming with a stroller or wheelchair may be a challenge
– Dalí didn’t just paint art. He also designed jewelry, which can be found in the annex next to the museum.
Yes! People who find museums to be boring will not be bored here. If you are coming on a day trip from Barcelona, it does take 2-3 hours to arrive by train (see Transportation tips below). So, unless you are an art fanatic, it may not be worth it. The town of Figueres is also very residential, so there is nothing very interesting – aside from a few art installations sprinkled throughout.
Dalí Theatre-Museum (Google map)
Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5, 17600 Figueres, Girona
General ticket price: 0 – 13€, Children under age 14 enter free
Telephone number: 972 67 75 00
Varies on the season. See the website.
How to arrive
From Barcelona, the fastest way to arrive is by taking the high-speed train, called the AVE. The trip is between 2-3 hours, depending on departure times. Visit the RENFE website for details. You can arrive by car, which is 140 km, and takes about 1.5 hours. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.
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Have you ever been to the Dalí Theatre-Museum? Was it worth visiting? Let me know in the comments!
California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).
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