The Dalí Museum: A Wild Mind-Trip for Grands and Kids to Share

Cool Things - DaliThere is nothing cooler for kids and grandparents than making new discoveries together. Be prepared for a memory-making day when you take a trip to the Tampa Bay area of Florida to visit the stunning new Dalí Museum.

Salvador Dalí, the most influential Surrealist painter of the 20th century, was also a great lover of science, math and the arts. The museum building itself is a work of art, a jewel box with its “Glass Enigma” alcove that offers visitors a panoramic view of Tampa Bay. The museum holds 1,200 pieces of priceless art as a retrospective of Dalí’s life works and is the largest Dalí collection in the world outside of Spain.

Shown on this page is “Daddy Long Legs of the Evening – Hope!” [In the USA © Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida, 2012 Worldwide rights © Salvador Dalí. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí (Artists Rights Society) 2012]. All other photos in this article are by Michael Dupré.

A Dalí Museum tour with a docent is an enriching experience to share with your grandkids. Learn how Dalí encouraged people to see the world differently. His art literally turns the world upside down and shows us how to live in a fresh new way.

Dalí’s art is like an iceberg: Only a tenth of the art is revealed above the surface. There is always more to learn and more to come back for. Grandparents will recognize this as a valuable “aha” moment to share with their grandkids, who will find it useful in life as well as for school projects. The majority of Dalí’s art is Surrealist; it comes from a hallucinatory state Dalí called the “paranoiac-critical” method, in which he discovers his true identity within his art and himself as through the eyes of Freud and dreams.

Dalí, whose hallucinogenic perspective was not the result of taking drugs, could force his mind to transform clouds or even the simplest of water stains on the ceiling into Rembrandt images; inside one image he could see a second image, creating what he called “double images.” This ability to turn an everyday thing into something completely different to challenge the mind is a wonderful talent you can help your grandkids to develop.

Born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain, Dalí started painting at age 6. By age 10, he had created his first self-portrait in his self-made studio using three mirrors to let in the Mediterranean sunlight. He spent much of his summers painting off the coast near the beaches of Cadaques. He often came across rough burlap that the fishermen used to keep their wooden boats moist, and he began to paint on the burlap as if it were a canvas. Dalí taught himself by exploring different media and styles of other artists until he reached the age of formal training in the academy in Spain. Although Dalí never finished his academy accreditation in Spain, he became famous and acclaimed worldwide. [Dali’s biography (1904-1989)]

The core of the Dalí Museum is the collection donated by Eleanore and Reynolds Morse, longtime friends of Dalí and his wife, Gala. “Daddy Long Legs of the Evening – Hope!” is the first painting the Morses purchased. After 45 years of collecting Dalí works, the Morses donated their entire collection to the people of Florida. In 1982 the predecessor of the current Dalí Museum opened in St. Petersburg, Florida, a tiny gulf town that reminded the Morses of Dalí’s home, where he did most of his painting in Port Lligat, Spain.

Café Gala at the museum offers light lunches and a child’s menu. Outside the museum is a beautiful “Avant-Garden” for relaxing. Inside, a children’s headset tour is available if you need help with describing the paintings. There is also a children’s room with oversize puzzles, cigar cleaners as mustaches, coloring books, and a scavenger hunt of the paintings around the museum. You’re sure to enjoy a mind-expanding experience with your grandkids at the Dalí Museum.

Come On Down — Don’t Dilly-Dalí!

Dalí Museum

1 Dalí Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL

• Open daily. Tickets are $15-$21 (kids 5 and younger are free)

• Information: thedali.org or call 727-823-3767

Events calendar

Video of grand opening, 3:17 min. The Dalí Museum first opened to the public on 1/1/11 at precisely 11:11 a.m.

Dali’s biography (1904-1989)

Shown on this page is “Daddy Long Legs of the Evening – Hope!” [In the USA © Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida, 2012 Worldwide rights © Salvador Dalí. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí (Artists Rights Society) 2012]. All other photos in this article are by Michael Dupré.

All photos except for “Daddy Long Legs of the Evening – Hope!” are by Michael Dupré. © Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida

Debra Nardi Evans is a regular Dalí docent, wedding minister and event coordinator living in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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