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Published: October 27th 2015
It was a rainy day at St. Pete Beach; so we headed downtown from our campsite at Fort DeSoto (a wonderful park run by Pinellas County) for a return trip to the Dali Museum!
Museum Directors must have to keep in touch with meteorologists to make proper staffing decisions. It’s not that visitors need rain as a reason to push up the daily census of museums when they had hoped for a beach day; but in the ancient struggle of “what shall we do today” the odds favoring the museum are more auspicious during inclement weather.
We sure hit the jackpot at the Dali on a recent visit. One hundred and thirty five pieces by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher are on loan to the Dali from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens until January 3, 2016!
We are old hands at museums on rainy days and worried a bit about finding a place to park (no worries; but parking in an adjacent lot will set you back $10). And, the staffing was such that we didn’t have to wait in line for anything – entrance ($40 for two seniors with a coupon worth $4). Nor did we have
a wait to pick up our complimentary audio tour equipment. We also found seating for a “tapas” lunch in the stylish café without a wait and found prompt service in the well-stocked gift shop.
Back to the art --- If the name M.C. Escher sent you to “Google” you’re in reasonably good company; but chances are good you’ve been exposed to his work in the mazes of never ending staircases in various video games and scores of films and TV shows. It’s the fascinating stuff of nightmares. And it fits in well with Salvador Dali’s surreal and often enigmatic work. Warning: Do NOT attempt to enjoy either Dali or Escher without a docent of audio tour device. PS warning: allow you self to be open to new ways of looking at things.
We started out using our time well with a long, but interesting and (for us) necessary documentary about M.C. Escher.
On to the Escher gallery highlights including Escher’s tessellations (repetitive shapes that fit together like a puzzle) including “metamorphosis” a 13 ½ foot wide wood cut. I wish I could have taken a photo of this amazing piece of work. Non-flash photography is allowed in
the permanent collection galleries featuring the work by Salvadore Dali, but not in the Escher exhibit. Other work included the iconic "Relativity" with all of its "Which Way Is Up?" stairs, an amazing graphic of three snakes coiled together like an Irish knot, and Drawing Hands (Escher was left handed and used his right hand as a model for this iconic work).
Over on the permanent collection side we always have to try our hand (and eye) at the Lincoln portrait and have to stop to marvel that we actually "get" the one with the matador. The collection is the largest collection of Salvadore Dali’s work outside of Spain. It began as a private collection by a couple in Cleveland who moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and established the Dali Museum with their entire collection in an old warehouse. The present building opened 4 or so years ago and is a splendid must see even if you don’t give a fig about the art.
There are a few more photos after the break - we have other posts about Dali and his museum earlier on in our travel blog itinerary!
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