Meeting Dalí: Surrealist sculptures in Marbella

Salvador Dalí must be the epitome of the eccentric artist-genius if there ever was one. And eccentric, mind you, in a good, no, freaking brilliant way. The Catalan artist melted hearts and stirred the art world´s pot with his unconventional, surrealist ways. I was fortunate enough to visit his thought-provoking “Casa Museu Dalí” in Figueres, close to the French border, a while ago – a place where giant eggs sit enthroned on the claret colored rooftop and sultry lips as well as a nose act as surprising pieces of furniture and decor. It is an inspiring place, to say the least! 

Dalí´s work traveled far and wide, and a part of it somehow ended up in a place the celebrated artist didn´t really have that much to do with during his lifetime – in Marbella, Southern Spain.  While the creative genius spent most of his life between cities such as Barcelona, Madrid or Paris with a longer stay in New York, some of his outlandish sculptures have found a home in the beautiful, notorious coastal city 45 minutes from Malaga. 

There are two places in Marbella where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun and marvel at the famous painter, artist and sculptor´s
work at once. One is located at Puerto Banus, playground of the super-wealthy, where even Arabia´s billionaires leave their yachts in the port and come out to mingle. Located on the Cristamar roundabout at the end of Avenida Naciones Unidas, a several tonne heavy rhinoceros dressed in lace greets its onlookers with a detached (or is it cheeky?) demeanor.  

Rhinoceros sculpture Dali Marbella
This well-dressed rhinoceros was created by Dali after he made a crazy movie called “The Prodigious Adventure of the Lacemaker and the Rhinoceros” in 1956. Photo by Manuel 
González Olaechea y Franco/ Wikimedia Commons.

For a wider array of artwork, head to Marbella Boulevard, to so-called Avenida del Mar, which is located right in the pulsing heart of the city, between the endlessly charming old town with its flower-patios and narrow winding, white-washed streets, and the gorgeous embankments along the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean ocean. 

Here, where a salty sea breeze fills the air and the sun warms every pore of your skin, five quirky sculptures await your interpretation. The first one depicts Greek mythological man and hero Perseus, caught in the act while cutting lady Medusa´s head off. Remember Medusa? Yep, it´s that feisty female with snakes instead of hair and a pretty chilly gaze – so chilly, in fact, that any man gazing upon her would turn to stone. It seems somehow understandable, then, that Perseus would do such a drastic move. But wait, isn´t he already cast in stone? This is kinda confusing. I mean, what´s the point? Anyway, moving on.

Apart from Perseus, there are two sculptures that showcase a more direct connection to Dali’s life: One of them is named “Gala Gradiva” after the artist´s wife, the other is a depiction of her looking out a window. As you can gather from these sculptures, this enigmatic, Russian-born woman played a central role in Dali´s art and life. He adored her with as much heart and soul as only artists can adore their creative-life-giving muses. As a testimony to this and to the powerful effect of love on art, let me close this post with a quote by Dali himself, revealing his never ending affection for Gala as well as the overall quirkiness of his character:

“I name my wife: Gala, Galushka, Gradiva; Oliva, for the oval shape of her face and the color of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive for Olive; and its delirious derivatives Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette, because when she gets angry she roars like the  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion”

Back to you, dear reader: Who is your favorite artist? And why? As always, would love to hear from you!


Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Meeting Dalí: Surrealist sculptures in Marbella

  1. Interesting post. I like how you point out he was a crazy genius. I think the word you may have wanted was eccentric, He was different. Perhaps, not understood or appreciated as much as he deserved.
    He was an amazing creator of great works,

    Thank you for sharing thes photos. My fave is the well dressed dinosaur. I guess it is the little kid in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Maria. This is really good and educational. As a youth Dali surely made an impression because his surrealism was so striking and unique but I didn’t know too much about his back story and personal life. Come to think of it Spain produces artists whose creations are so memorable and defining.. Picasso Gaudi Dali… Keep sharing more or these artists posts please 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hola dear, muchas gracias for your awesome feedback! So good to hear you enjoyed this. Dali is quite an intriguing artist, isn´t he? His former abode in Figueres is really out there and super cool to experience, definitely check it out in the future, if you haven´t already:) Thanks again for your heartfelt encouragement, it means a lot! Hugs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Dali is amazing… I think that even for those who are not well read or interested in art, Dali is nothing short of enchanting because it plays with our visual reality and offers a totally different perception. The melting clocks, reflections in the water etc used to fascinate me as a kid… I remembered getting a postcard collection of his work and going through it on a daily basis for a long time… haha… I’ve not been to Figueres but am jotting it down for the future.. please don’t stop educating us about artists, especially Spanish ones!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with Dali´s thought-and heart-provoking art:) Love it!! I totally agree with you – Dali is a true wizard and magical artist! Love his play on time, too, inspiring us to wonder about what time really is… Thanks for your beautiful encouragement, dear!! Besotesss y hasta prontito:)

        Liked by 1 person

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