A melting clock. An eccentric mustache. Elephants with long legs. Yes, we’re talking about surrealist artist Salvador Dalí on a Tampa-focused blog. Why? You’ll find The Dalí Museum in St.Petersburg, only a short drive from Tampa, to be more than worth a visit. Whether you’re an art lover, an appreciator of architecture, or feeling a bit surreal, you won’t want to miss this museum. Here are five reasons to visit The Dalí Museum. 

“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dalí

This outstanding collection of Dalí’s work is one of the most acclaimed groups of a single modern artist, with artwork representing every moment and medium of his creative life (creative life might be an understatement). Moreover, The Dalí is the first and only museum in the Southeastern United States to be recognized internationally by the Michelin Guide with a three-star rating. 

Dalí, a leading exponent of surrealism, created works that captivate generation after generation. To many, his highly-skilled and uncanny paintings resemble beautiful and terrifying dreamscapes. Even in today’s CGI and VR world, his paintings open glimpses into new cosmoi, imbued with metaphors and themes relevant to our contemporary lives.

Are you surreal? Five Interesting things about Dalí

  • The surrealist painter had an affinity for eccentric animals. Photographers jumped at the opportunity to photograph Dali strolling on the Metro in Paris with a pet anteater or posing next to his pet ocelot, Babou.
  • Dalí picked up a paintbrush at an early age. At just six-years-old, Dalí produced his first known painting titled, Landscape of Figueres.
  • Despite the otherworldliness of his art, Dali did not partake in drugs.
  • Dalí thought he was the reincarnation of his older brother.
  • Dalí was expelled from art school twice. 

Something tells us that Dalí walking his pet anteater would’ve done very well on TikTok. Okay, let’s get to our five reasons to visit The Dalí Museum if you live in Tampa. 

Over 2,400 Salvador Dalí Works

The dali museum florida the toreador

“The Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1969-70, Oil on canvas. ©Salvador Dalí. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, (Artist Rights Society), 2021 / Collection of the Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2021.”

There’s is so much art at the Dalí Museum it will make your mustache stand on end. How much art? We’re talking nearly 300 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings as well as more than 2,100 prints, photographs, posters, textiles, sculptures and objcets d’artd’art across more than 60,000 sq. ft. 

The Dalí Museum owns eight Dalí Masterworks, the largest assembly of Masterworks of any institution in the world. Coined by Dalí Museum founder A. Reynolds Morse, the term “masterworks” applies to paintings exceeding five feet in height or width, painted over a year or longer. 

While every item in the collection is worth examining, highlights include The Basket of Bread (1926), Girl with Curls (1926), Daddy Longlegs of the Evening-Hope! (1940), The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952-54), and many others. 

Talk about an ambitious collection! And in the words of the great artist himself, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

Dalí & Friends: Special Exhibits

van goh exhibit at the dali museum

“©2021 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL.”

While Dalí’s works are worth repeat visits, the museum hosts many world-class special exhibits. For instance, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Elsa Schiaparelli, Frida Kahlo and other acclaimed artists have all gotten their due at The Dalí Museum. 

You can currently experience Van Goh Alive, now on display through April 11, 2021. “The exhibition features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at enormous scale, viewed through high-definition projectors and synchronized to a powerful classical score. Cinema-quality surround-sound amplifies the emotion generated by the works themselves. In addition to the iconic works featured, visitors can examine Van Gogh’sGogh’s inspiration via photographs and video displayed alongside them. The installation is powered by SENSORY4™, a unique system developed by Grande Experiences of Melbourne, Australia.” 

You’re going to want to leave your McKinley Tampa apartment and “Van Goh” to this exhibit! 

The Artful Architecture 

dali museum architecture

“©2021 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL.”

Dalí’s surreal wonders aren’t the only artwork on displays at this museum; the building that houses such wonders is a work of art as well. Designed by architect Yann Weymouth of HOK, the structure consolidates the rational with the fantastical: a simple rectangle with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which erupts a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as “The Enigma.” As a whole, the Museum spans more than 68,000 square feet.

Not that anything has to make sense at a Dalí museum, but the avant-garden seems like a no-brainer. The Dalí’s Avant-garden draws from the artist’s fascination with the duality of art and nature and creates a unique learning environment.

A Taste of Spain 

cafe at dali museum

“©2021 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL.”

Dalí was born in Figueres, Catalonia, so the museum’s cafe serves up exquisite Spanish food to honor his roots. According to its site, “Café Gala introduces visitors to Spanish food and history. Whimsically named in honor of Dalí’s wife Gala, who never cooked, the casual eatery has embraced Salvador Dalí’s heritage by presenting a menu of light fare with an authentic Spanish theme.”

Do you prefer looking at art in the early hours? No worries! The Cafe serves local Kahwa roasted coffees, including espresso, cappuccino and macchiato. Further, you can pair your caffeine with a delicious Spanish pastry — try the mantecados (Spanish cookies). 

And for the art lovers over the age of 21, the Café’s signature Cava Rosado (Spanish sparkling rosé champagne) is a delightful boozy option.  

Digital Dali 

augmented reality at the dali

©2021 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL.

The Dalí isn’t your grandpa’s museum. Just as Salvador Dalí explored myriad media and new artistic avenues to express himself, the museum uses cutting-edge technology to educate visitors about Dalí’s life. Moreover, integrating 21st-century technology into the experience further preserves Dalí’s remarkable legacy.

From experiencing Dali’s work in augmented reality to an amazing artificial intelligence experience, museum-goers have plenty of virtual options. 

“Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.” – Salvador Dalí 

Not a fan of Dalí’s ubiquitous mustache? Give it some time; it might grow on you. Jokes aside, we encourage every Tampa Bay resident to take a trip to the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. 

Are you looking for more things to do in and around Tampa? Visit our McKinley Living Tampa page. 

Cover photo credit: “©2021 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL.”