Salvador Dali: One Strange Dude

There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.  Salvador Dali

While in St. Pete, Florida last week I visited the Dali art museum again. I almost never go on tours, but the tiny 70-ish year-old docent caught my attention as she began to talk and I found myself following her and 20 others around the gallery.

She was very amusing and quite informative. Dali is one tough artist to figure out and I’d never have interpreted the paintings as she did. The stories were fascinating and it made me appreciate the bizarreness of Dali’s paintings all the more.

I’ve always appreciated Dali’s vivid palette.  I love color.  But one thing she pointed out about his later surrealism paintings is his technique. His painting is so smooth. There are no brush strokes. It is pretty amazing.

The brilliance in his work is some of the paintings that look like something else far away but transform into much smaller pieces of a very intricate story as you get closer. This was all before computer-generated images. There is one, Portrait of My Dead Brother, that is like this. It is really fascinating.   What is particularly interesting is that his brother died at two-years-old, but the person in the portrait is much older, a teenager or young man.

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There is something deep down in me that Dali dredges up when I look at his paintings. I don’t think it’s a bunch of depression and despair.  It’s just a different way of looking at things; it’s a non-Pollyanna way of seeing the world.  I have a tendency to be a Pollyanna on the surface, but that’s not who I am if you really know me.  I think I can be a realist, maybe a surrealist.  Sometimes I’m drawn to the darker side.  For example, I am addicted to the Investigation Discovery channel, and Snapped, and Forensic Files.  The research part of me likes to know what mistakes murderers make and how it is that they get caught, whether it is 24 hours later, or 24 years later. I find it fascinating.  But it is not always pretty to watch.  Does that make me a strange dude, too?

I’ve recommended the Dali art gallery before and do so again without hesitation. It’s open til 8 pm on Thursdays and the adult price of admission is $10 after 5 pm. It’s a great deal and very entertaining, with or without the tour.

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Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.  Salvador Dali

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