The Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ Offers An Immersive Art Experience – But This Place Is Much More Than That!

In November 2020, art lovers were invited to revel in colors, light, and sound with the Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ exhibition. 

Brought to the public by Australian company Grande Experiences, over 3000 Van Gogh’s masterpieces were digitalized and projected onto a series of enormous screens, walls, and floors in the gallery. Accompanied by the cinematic score of classical music, visitors would experience the sensation of immersing themselves in the artwork – an experience that was both educational and inspiring at the same time. 

Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ 

“It transported me into another world. I felt like I was living a dream”, many shared one thought after this one-of-a-kind tour. 

“Van Gogh Alive” ended its colorful journey on June 13, 2021, much to aesthetes’ regret. But Dalí museum – the first North American venue to host this mesmerizing exhibition – is still an intriguing spot for art lovers. Read on and let us introduce you to the surreal world of Salvador Dalí –  one of the 20th century’s most controversial and celebrated artists – as well as the largest collection of his work outside of his hometown Spain! 

About Salvador Dalí – An Iconic Surrealist

The man. The master. The marvel. There are many ways to talk about Salvador Dalí, but let’s just say, he is one of the most influential artists of all time. Born May 11, 1904, in Figueres, this Spanish painter and printmaker spent all of his life making artworks about the dreams he had, including paintings, sculptures, and even films. He painted melting clocks and floating eyes, clouds that resemble faces, and rocks that look like bodies. 

In his early years, Salvador Dalí experimented with a variety of art styles, such as Impressionism and Futurism. Eventually, the artist found the right way to express his fantasy in Surrealism. Surrealism was a 20th-century movement that had a significant impact on art and literature, and artists of this style are known to disregard the rational in their works. Instead, they channel the unconscious to unleash the power of imagination. With that being said, Dalí gained the attention of the art world by embracing his pure, unbounded creativity in all forms. 

Dalí Was A Leader Of The Surrealism Movement
Salvador Dalí Is One Of The Leading Surrealists In The 20th Century – Source: Biography.com 

While Van Gogh’s theme formed the basis of the Expressionism movement in the 20th century, Dalí was a leader of the Surrealism movement. However, Hank Hine – executive director of Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ – said he was surprised to find some connections between these two artists. Both of their works are open to interpretations, and in the Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’, Hine’s team wanted to showcase these connections without belaboring them. Both Van Gogh and Dalí are visionaries – leave it at that.  

Van Gogh Alive Exhibition
The Executive Director Of ‘Van Gogh Alive’ Dalí Museum Saw The Connection Between Two Artists – Source: I Love The Burg

Though being known as one of the most renowned Surrealists, some critics believe that Salvador Dalí just peaked artistically for a short time then succumbed to exhibitionism and money. Writing in The Guardian, critic Robert Hughes described his later works as “kitschy repetition of old motifs or vulgarly pompous piety on a Cinemascope scale.” Now, American art lovers will have a fresh opportunity to see for themselves as they can contemplate Dalí’s works at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

How To Visit The Dalí Museum In St. Petersburg?

Outside of Spain, the waterfront Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg is home to Salvador Dalí’s greatest collection of artworks. 

Though not designed by the artist himself like its sister in Figueres, the building is no less impressive: You can spot the key architectural element, the “Glass Enigma”, immediately as it’s made of 1,062 glass triangles and shines brightly under daylights. That’s why it was chosen to host the Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ exhibition: It can be one of the most splendid museum buildings in Florida. 

Dalí Museum Glass Enigma
Dalí Museum St. Petersburg – Source: Novum Mebrances

Visiting a museum is truly a personal experience for me. Art can influence each of us in many different ways. Still, there are a few tips to make your trip to Dalí Museum more pleasurable and gratifying: 

Hotels & Parking

If you are planning for a trip to Florida and this museum is on top of your list, take a look at some hotels near Dalí museum St. Petersburg. According to users on Tripadvisor, here are the best options:

In case you travel by car, the museum offers parking lots at $10 per vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis. Nearby surface lots, street parking, and city parking garages are also available. Parking charges, however, might vary. 

Tickets

All visitors are required to have advance timed tickets to enter the building. You can purchase yours on the same day (as available) up until your arrival, and tickets can usually be purchased up to 2 months in advance. The collection, ongoing special exhibitions, the gardens, and more are all accessible with tickets. Prices might range from $10 – $25, depending on the season and the type of ticket purchased. 

Docent 

You can take a free tour, but a better way to explore Dalí Museum is Docent Tour, which is available every half an hour. A docent will walk you through the collection’s major pieces, starting with the history of the museum. While she won’t go deep into every artwork, she will cover the major styles, themes, and critical aspects of Dalí’s life. This is, without a doubt, the best way to learn about the artist and the pieces you are looking at. 

Salvador Dalí’s “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory”
The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, 1952 – 1954 – Source: Wikiart

Some of the artworks available at the St. Petersburg museum are larger than life, such as The Hallucinogenic Toreador, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory. A docent tour shall allow visitors to discover the significance of each piece, as well as the details that you might not have observed on your own. If you want to learn more about a certain artwork, the docent will gladly answer your question. 

Audio 

When you enter the museum, you will get an MP3 device without extra costs. It provides information about every piece of art in the museum and also special exhibits that are currently on display at the time of your visit. As mentioned, a docent will not have time to go through all the pieces, so you should take a headset with you even if you are on a guided tour. 

Scavenger Hunt For The Kids

You might think the bizarre surrealist paintings are not for your children, but kids can enjoy Dalí in their own way. Children aged 5 to 13 can learn with a special “Mr. Mustache” tour, which is both entertaining and educational at the same time. Older kids can go on a scavenger hunt. Suggest them to research before the trip and look for what they find most intriguing.

A 60 Second Tour Of The Salvador Dalí Museum In St. Pete

Planning for a trip with your children? Pique their curiosity at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Hollywood!

Garden

Dali Museum Garden
Dalí’s Labyrinth Promises An Adventure – Source: Twitter

One of the best things about the Dalí Museum is the outdoor facility. This is also my favorite part, so I often save it for last. Around the garden, you can find amusing, whimsical monuments based on Dalí or his artworks. Kids would love the small hedged maze, but I prefer the mathematical depictions of pi and square roots. Dalí was fascinated by math after he discovered its connection with art. 

Cafe

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to go through the exhibits, so you might want to have some rest at the end of the trip. Located at the lower level in the “Glass Enigma”, the Cafe Gala gives you a perfect view of the garden. You can treat yourself to a small lunch or late-morning snack from the lighter fare menu. 

“Without Art, The Crudeness Of Reality Would Make The World Unbearable” 

Now you know that the host of Dalí Museum ‘Van Gogh Alive’ is a whole whimsical world waiting for aesthetes to discover. Knowing Dalí and his style, you can almost imagine him chuckling at our attempts to rationalize his craft. Well, perhaps you don’t really have to rationalize it. Instead, simply immerse in the fantasies of Salvador Dalí and escape the outside world for an hour or two. That’s one purpose of art, isn’t it? 

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