Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Dali Weekend

A few weekends ago, we rented a car and headed north to explore the most north-east region of Spain, Alt Emporda, a magical place where many prominent artists including Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso have called home.

With the dramatic rocky landscapes, proximity to the Medeterrainian sea, and very strong wind - you can literally feel inspiration.

I've always been intrigued by the colorful, dream-like artworks of Dali, but they also seemed obscure, out-of reach.

Gala Dali

After touring the extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, installations and video art at the Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres, which Dali himself helped design before his death in 1989 (he was prolific), I still don't understand the artist or his intentions. The museum had an obvious lack of information - no audio tours, no notes on the art, no pamphlets detailing his life.

I read somewhere that whenever Dali was asked about the meaning of his art, he gave a completely different answer each time, thus igniting controversy among his critics.  I assume he wanted the viewer to decide for herself what the art meant, or maybe the art truly had a different meaning every time he contemplated it.  

After viewing at hundreds of his artworks all at once, I became comforted by them -  I am not the only one who sees crazy, sensual, scary, mixed-up, sometimes sadistic, sometimes childish images in dreams, thoughts and feelings.  His works express so many emotions and yet nothing at all tangible.

Sting Caused by the Flight of a Bee

Similarly, Alt Emporada is filled with a vibrant, unexplainable energy yet it is completely desolate. Maybe the always prevalent wind which carved the rocks gives the place a secret life.  Exploring the region by foot provided more insight into the artworks of Dali.

We hiked over the jagged rocks of Cap De Crues, an enchanting national park by the sea:

The Specter of Sex Appeal

And we found secret caverns:

Large mural inside the Theatre Museum:

Here is a view of Cadaques, a stifling small, yet romantic, town of angular white buildings.  It doesn't seem to have changed since Dali and Picasso lived here in the 1930's:


Portlligat, also isolated, is the bay near Cadaques where Dali and Gala worked. It also seems to have remained the same over the years:

Woman at the Window 
(my favorite):


  1. Thanks for the memories and insights. Deb and I hiked, toured the area, visited, the Dali Museum and Cadaques with some Brit friends awhile ago. When the hell WAS that?. . .

  2. Your photos (and writing) are beautiful! Looks like you guys are having a great time out there. I feel this message should have been in Spanish, ah well, next time...


  3. Read every entry tonight! Love your blog and now feel like we are back in touch,,,Just had a short visit from Flora & Rowan. Snow on their first land visit

  4. The specter of sex appeal sure could use an explanation. you write a great blog