“Dali to the Nth Degree at The Dali Museum: St. Petersburg, Fla.”
While spending the first two weeks of 2013 in the Tampa area visiting with family and friends, we took a four day detour to Las Vegas--our most surreal American city bar none. So, after feasting our eyes on such faux sites as Caesar's Palace and the Luxor, we were more than primed to explore the surrealistic wonders on display at the new Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida prior to heading home to staid Burke, Virginia.
Situated on a spit of land overlooking a lovely marina and the tranquil Gulf of Mexico, the new Dali Museum resembles a huge fly's face (one of his favorite symbols) or the great rock of Gibraltar near his ancestral homeland of Spain. It's surrounded by native rock from that region with its characteristic swirls so freely replicated in many of Dali's works. The visitor easily grasps how these stunning natural shapes infused his canvases with such dramatic organic force.
Our personable guide knew his Dali facts, providing fascinating background information on the artist and his selected works displayed brilliantly from his early years until his death.
Anyone who might be put off by Dali's foray into surrealism will be surprised to learn of his classically rooted artistic training which bloomed at an early age despite his family's disapproval.
Every period of Dali's career is certainly well represented here. Having recently been to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, I was most fascinated by Dali's openness to Warhol's aesthetic and Dali's fascination with the double helix design of Crick and Watson's DNA discoveries.
But possibly the greatest "takeaway" for me occurred after I had toured the main exhibition and found myself gazing in sheer wonder at the dozens of local Florida school children's "masterpieces' on display in an auxiliary gallery. Clearly Dali's influence surfaced in this context in the most meaningful manner, and reminded me that when our daughter was only seven we took her through the previous Dali Museum and has been fascinated by his prodigious artistic legacy ever since. She is now a professional artist and art teacher.
We also thoroughly enjoyed strolling around the lovely exterior grounds where one can enjoy eating authentic Spanish food from the Dali cafe, perching on a melting watch park bench, and attaching paper entrance bracelets to a graceful weeping fig tree's branches.
All in all, The Dali has much to offer for anyone be he/she an art enthusiast or scientist, child or ninetythree year old. It's definitely a "must see" in St. Petersburg!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.