Figueres, Cadaqués… Escapade dans Dalí’s Catalogne

Salvador Dalí is undoubtedly one of Catalonia’s most illustrious figures. Everywhere in the region, the curious can contemplate his works and walk in the footsteps of this figure of Spanish surrealism.

The artist has as many admirers as detractors. Salvado Dalí left an indelible mark in Catalonia. From Figueres to Cadaqués via Púbol, a real “Road of Dalí” has emerged, to the delight of art lovers. If Dalí fascinates so much, it is above all for his extravagant side which sometimes borders on madness. “I am not strange. I’m just not normal” he described himself. An atypical personality and a unique talent that propelled him to the rank of the greatest artists of Spanish surrealism. Equinox returns to the Catalan places where the aura of Salvador Dalí still hovers.

Cadaqués, the village at heart

As well as being world famous for the beauty of its streets and beaches, Cadaqués is home to the house in which Salvador Dalí lived for much of his life. Originally from Figueres, the artist settled there shortly following his stay in the United States and until the death of his muse and wife, Gala, in 1982. Thus, he left his house for the castle of Púbol in which he will live there until his death. The house in Cadaqués therefore represents the artist’s main place of life.

Located in Portlligat, five kilometers from the village, the house is now open to the public. Visitors can thus interfere in the lair of the megalomaniac painter by surveying this carefully preserved living space. Originally, Dalí’s house was just a group of several fishermen’s houses that he transformed into his place of life, but also into a workshop that inspired him enormously. Over the years, the painter has brought together various intriguing pieces of furniture and has modeled the interior and exterior space in his image: extravagant and fascinating.

Figueres, cradle of the Dalinian work

It is certainly the place most linked to Dalí in the collective imagination. And for good reason, it is considered the last great work of Salvador Dalí. The Dalí Theatre-Museum was erected on the remains of the old Municipal Theater of Figueres. The building had been ravaged by a fire during the civil war. The museum was inaugurated in 1974. It is now possible to observe some 1,500 works of art, whether paintings, engravings, drawings, sculptures and photographs, or other installations such as holograms or stereoscopies.

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Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia

For the little anecdote, this museum does not only exhibit works by Dalí. There are also pieces by other artists that the painter wanted to exhibit, such as Antoni Pitxot and Evarist Vallès. In addition, part of Salvador Dalí’s private collection, including works by Marià Fortuny, El Greco, Modest Urgell, Marcel Duchamp and Ernest Meissonier, is also accessible to the public.

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Since the death of Salvador Dalí in 1989, it has been possible to visit the crypt and his tomb, in the center of the museum, in a space refurbished in 1997, in order to exhibit a collection of gold jewelery designed by the ‘artist. Enough to complete the circle of places to travel in the footsteps of Salvador Dalí in Catalonia, and thus pay him a last tribute.

Púbol, Dalí’s romanticism

Not far from Girona, the village of Púbol seduces many visitors with its medieval charm. And, Dalí also succumbed to the beauty of the place. Moreover, in 1969, he decided to offer the castle of Púbol dating from the 11th century to his wife Gala. A way to allow him to spend the last years of his life there. Formerly a symbol of Salvador Dalí’s love for Gala, the building can now be visited. And one thing is certain, the castle is worth the detour. The curious will be able to discover the interior which is adorned with murals, elements of medieval architecture, antiques, and even romantic symbols.

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The exterior is also worth a look. It is also imbued with the eccentricity of the Catalan artist. The basin, for example, challenges the eye through the presence of a giant fish acting as a fountain. This is also surrounded by sculptures of the head of Richard Wagner, who is, by the way, Gala’s favorite composer. Visitors must above all be attentive to contemplate the smallest details left by the famous artist.

The originality of the castle also lies in its way of making a bridge between life and death. Thus, Gala is buried in the crypt of the house where a giraffe, two horses and a rabbit watch over her grave. In the garage, his Cadillac is still parked, enough to make visitors feel the presence of the eternal muse of Salvador Dalí! The artist only moved to the castle following the death of his wife in 1982, and only stayed there for 2 years. Even if the artist only lived there for a short time, this castle is undeniably marked by the genius of Dalí.

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