A Taste of the Surreal in Florence

A Taste of the Surreal in Florence

From now until May 25th, visitors to Florence have a rare opportunity to view works by Surrealist artist Salvador Dalì in a new exhibition, “The Dalì Universe,” at Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Of all the things you’d expect to see on our tours of Florence, a melting pocket watch probably isn’t at the top of your list. But from now until May 25th, visitors to Florence have a rare opportunity to view works by Surrealist artist Salvador Dalì in a new exhibition, “The Dalì Universe,” at Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Salvador Dalì is best known for his emblematic painting The Persistence of Memory. His melting watches have become nearly as famous as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. But Dalì’s artistic output wasn’t limited to painting. In fact, he was something of a Renaissance man, working in a variety of media, both in the visual arts and beyond. Prolific and flamboyant, Dalì made his mark in areas such as printmaking, sculpture, theater, film, photography and even fashion – to name but a few.

“The Dalì Universe” gives us a glimpse of the kind of work we don’t often see in museums or art history books. Featuring over 100 works, the exhibition showcases Dalì’s sculptures, rare graphics, glass objects, gold objects, original collages and surrealist furniture.

Some highlights of the show include sculptures such as the Profile of Time and Woman Aflame as well as rare, hand-signed graphics that explore the great themes of literature. Dalì once said that he had a "love of everything that is gilded and excessive” and a “passion for luxury.” This passion is reflected in the glass objects made at the Daum Cristallerie and a set of gold objects, both on display at “The Dalì Universe.”

Born in Spain, Salvador Dalì officially joined the Surrealists in Paris but his fame spread far and wide, even during his lifetime. As part of the Surrealist movement, he was particularly interested in accessing the subconscious to achieve new artistic and creative heights.

As an art student in Spain, Dalì drew his inspiration from a variety of artists. He studied classical masters, and was particularly influenced by Raphael and Bronzino. It seems only natural, then, that an exhibition dedicated to his work be set in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance.

And yet, the choice Palazzo Medici Riccardi to host the exhibition is an interesting one. A fine example of Renaissance architecture, the Palazzo is best known for its famous frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. The Palazzo’s grand, elegant interior with its Renaissance sculptures creates an intriguing dialogue with Dalì’s Surrealist works. And Palazzo Medici Riccardi is mere steps from Florence’s cathedral, making it a usual stop on our city tours of Florence.

Why not plan a visit to The Universe of Dalì before or after one of our guided tours of Florence? The exhibition at Palazzo Medici Riccardi will run through May 25th, 2013.