Walk around surrealistic Figueres, Spain

Figueres is a small town in the province of Girona, Catalonia. The city is located near the French border and is located about 150 km. from Barcelona, so if you are in this region do not miss to visit it. The town has long history and interesting traditions. Today, however, Figueres is known better for being the birthplace of the famous Spanish painter Salvador Dali. Several years before his death he returned to his hometown, bought the theater, where he did his first exhibitions and made of it his last piece of work – the Gala Salvador Dali Museum. If you have even the smallest clue what a man was Salvador Dali and what  his style was, then you should expect anything, but not an ordinary museum. Inside thre are many pictures from the private collection of Dali and paintings by El Greco and his friend Anthony Pichot. But that’s not all. The theather itself is an art. There is  a special room with sofa and fireplace that seen from a certain angle, resembles a human face. The facade of the museum is covered with bread and on te roof you will notice huge eggs. In the crypt lies the body of Dali himself. The tour through the museum Gala Salvador Ghali is a real adventure – whether you’re a fan of the Spanish surrealist or not. Personally I’ve never been a fan of Salvador Dali, nor the surrealism as an art movement. IBut ‘ve always been attracted to extraordinary characters. And Dali is exactly that. That’s way every time I listen with great interest the story of his life.

Salvador Dali was born on 11th of May, 1904, but his life was marked by another event that happened years before his birth – the death of his younger brother, who had the same name. His parents saw in his face, the face of their dead son. As a child Dali often visited the grave of his brother where was written his own name on the tomb. His parents treated him like he was their reborn first son, so years after that Dali is heard to speak of himself as the second version of the same person. Two things in his childhood formed later his personality – the connection with his mother, who satisfied every of his wishes and the intense relation with his father. When little Salvador was making troubles, he was imprisoned in a dark room by his father as punishment. It was hard time for him sitting in the dark – he was imagining all sorts of creatures crawling on the floor. He had fear of the darkuntil the end of his life and that can even be seen as element in his paintings. The artist is that terrified by the thought of being buried in a dark coffin somewhere underground, that he wished his grave to be placed somewhere where there are constantly a lot of people.That is why his body now lies in a crypt in The theater-museum next to the ladies’ room, where constantly visitors enter and leave. Growing, Dali developed a strong bond to his mother, and became almost entirely dependent on her. She was his confidante, friend, protector. Unfortunately, when he was 16, his mother died. This was a great shock for the artist, who felt betrayed and abandoned, and that affected his relations with women later. Actually, rumor has it, that he did’t had any relationships with women  until he met his future wife Gala, when he was 25 years old. But I’ll tell you more about her in the next publication.

After the death of Dali’s mother, his father married her sister. The artist has never approved the marriage so when he had the opportunity to go to Madrid, he took it. At the Academy of Fine Arts, he met two of the biggest artists of that time – the filmmaker Luis Bunuel and poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Particularly strong is the relation between Dali and Lorca – they were good friends but they had a lot of fights.. It is not a secret that Lorca was in love with Dali, but the painter didn’t respond to his feelings. Dali had a lot of troubles when he was at the university.  Finally, he was expeled. Dali left the univerisity without regrets, sayng that none of his profesors were good enought to teach him.  And maybe he was right. At that time he mixed Cubism and Dadaism, but he had his own style – style never seen before. The artist continued to develop his style in Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso. He did a short film called Andalusian Dog with his friend Bunuel (who later became one of most famous surrealist-directors in the cinema).

At the time, Dali met his muse and the love of his life Elena Dyakonova – the Russian wife of French poet Paul Eluard. Better known as Gala, she was ten years older than him and still married. But Dali was obsessed with this woman – he was equally terrified and attracted to her. Their relationship remained very emotional till her death, and beyond that. Since their firts meeting Dali realized that he can not live without her. They returned together in Spain. For him Gala was everything. He made her to promise that she would never leave him. Gala kept this promise for years and she never left Dali, despite her affaires with other men. At the ent, however, she died. Dali felt betried for second time by a woman. For him, life ended then. He lived for few more years, but it was more of existence than living. He died in 1989, leaving to the world many great paintings. Today Dali is considered of one of the gratest artists of all time.

The Theatre-Museum in Figueres gathers millions of tourists each year – this is the second most visited museum in Spain and it is certainly the best way to feel the genius of Dali. Figueres, Barcelona and Catalonia in general are home for many strange characters – painters, poets, architects. However, if you are not big art fan, you can just take a walk around Figueres. At the center is placed the Church of St. Peter, and around it you will see few nice cafes whre you can rest. Figueres is one of those small towns where it seems like time has stopped. Here you have the chance to see how the ordinary catalonia people live. You wont regret visiting the place.

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