Dali & Downtown St. Petersburg

Story highlights:
  • Comprehensive collection by Spanish surrealist
  • Eight Masterworks are in the St. Pete museum
  • Downtown parks and sidewalk cafes
Links within article correspond to map points.
Warhol at the Dali: Jan 18 - April 27

When you're ready for a break from the beach, head to the Dali Museum to explore America’s most comprehensive collection of art by the famous Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Located in a stunning new building on the scenic downtown St. Pete waterfront, this iconic museum is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the rest of the city.

Picasso Headed to Dali

The international landmark exhibit of “Picasso / Dali, Dali / Picasso” promises to be a blockbuster as it will feature rarely loaned works from more than 25 international art museums and private collections pairing works of these leading artists of our era. Dozens of works--with a focus on paintings, but also feature drawings, prints and sculpture--will be on display exclusively at The Dali Museum in St. Pete before moving to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

Dali and Picasso have a long history together as they first met in the spring of 1926 and worked on a project in 1929. They later grew apart with differing political views but their art converged in an engagement with the great art of the past as they dealt with the history of art’s grandest aspirations and their own yearning for artistic sovereignty in this era.

New Exhibit: Warhol at the Dali

"Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality." explores how Warhol learned from Dalis public visibility and was equally attuned to the images derived from mass culture. "Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality." considers Warhol’s little commented on engagement with other artists through his own painting, how he constructed an approach to the image in terms of celebrity and fame, and finally his treatment of painting and image in terms of human mortality.

The exhibit will include approximately 35 paintings, 20 drawings, 50 photographs and a selection of Warhol films, including screen tests. Works are on loan from The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. The Warhol and The Dalí museums are two of the largest and most renowned single-artist cultural destinations in the country.

Visiting the Dali Museum

The Dali Museum houses numerous oils, watercolors, sketches, sculptures and other objects of art – more than 2,000 items in total. Of the 18 so-called Masterworks produced by Dali, eight are located in the downtown St. Petersburg museum.

The museum is dedicated to Dali, one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. But it also hosts a range of special events and features temporary exhibits of other artists relating to Dali and surrealism. Visitors to the museum, who often know Dali solely as a surrealist, are surprised at the variety of his art. His early works include landscapes, portraits and still lifes, while his later works capture fascinating double images and immense religious paintings.

Given the artist's penchant for eye trickery, this museum also offers kids a playful introduction to fine art. Ask for the Surreal Family Guide, which directs kids through the museum and points out interesting facts about the art and the artist.

The new museum building, a 66,450-square-foot structure situated along the St. Petersburg waterfront, is a masterpiece in its own right. High-profile architect Yann Weymouth (who worked with I.M. Pei on the Louvre’s glass pyramid) created the design to pay homage to Dali’s free-flowing imagination. The structure represents the artist’s blend of classical and fantastical styles.

Watch a video, see the layout and learn more about the Dali Museum here.

Downtown St. Petersburg after Dali

The Dali Museum is located in the heart of picturesque downtown St. Pete. Featuring seven miles of beautifully preserved waterfront parks, this pedestrian-friendly city center has enjoyed a revival in recent years, and gleaming new skyscrapers and restaurants dot the waterfront. Not only are the views spectacular, but so is the food, with Beach Drive and Central Avenue offering a number of restaurants and cafes, many with al fresco dining.

At night, things heat up. Bars and restaurants come alive, and every first Friday of the month, the city hosts a big block party along Central Avenue, complete with live jazz, food, drinks and dancing in the street. The city is also home to many outdoor events, including the Firestone Grand Prix, the Mainsail Art Show, the Festival of States parades, Gala Under the Stars and much more.

Downtown St. Pete Waterfront Landmarks

As you explore the waterfront, you’ll see that many early St. Petersburg homes and buildings were built in a Mediterranean Revival-style meant to draw on the waterfront's healthy sea air and beauty. The beautifully restored Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is a perfect example of this architectural trend.

More Downtown St. Pete Museums & Masterpieces

St. Petersburg is alive with art galleries, sidewalk cafes and many other museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts. Wander through the vintage shops and one-of-a-kind boutiques along Central Avenue. Along Beach Drive, browse art and antique galleries, plus find great dining, coffee shops and more.

Beach Drive is also home to the new Chihuly Collection - Morean Arts Center. This permanent exhibit displays the blown glass art work of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibit space was designed especially for the collection and includes pieces created specifically for the exhibit, as well as some of his traditional glass pieces.

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