Open to the public since 1996, the Gala-Dalí Castle in Púbol, allows visitors to discover the medieval building in which Salvador Dalí materialised a fantastic creative effort with one person (Gala) in mind, and with one function in mind - to make a place suitable for the repose and refuge of his wife. The passage of time was to decide the transformation of this space, between 1982 and 1984, into Salvador Dalí's last workshop and mausoleum for his muse.
Documented since the 11th century, the basic structure of the present building - of three storeys arranged around a higher narrow courtyard - is to be located during the period of maximum splendour of the barony of Púbol in the second half of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th century.
When Dalí bought the castle in 1969 it was in a very poor state, with ceilings collapsed, substantial cracks and garden in semi-wild state. However, all that lent the whole a romantic appearance, which is what the Dalí couple appreciated and tried to retain in the restoration work they undertook. The ruinous outer appearance was consolidated, though without concealing the scars left by the passing of time. Salvador Dalí used the walls and semi-collapsed ceilings in a very intelligent way, creating unsuspected spaces of very different sizes; the interior decoration was conceived based on pictorial representations on the walls, architectural attics, textile baroque, antiques, romantic-type symbolism, etc. The result is a closed, mysterious, private, austere and sober place, with spaces of great beauty, such as the former kitchen converted into a bathroom and the Piano Room.
Dalí refers to the Castle in his written work. It is interesting to note how in Confessions inconfessables (1973) he presents it as a continuation of Portlligat - precisely through the Round or Oval Room (Gala's place), understood as a space dedicated to his wife and to a loving ideal. That association is left clearly explicit in the following paragraph:
"Everything celebrates the cult of Gala, even the round room, with its perfect echo, which crowns the building as a whole and which is like a dome of this Galactic cathedral. When I walk around this house I look at myself and I see my concentricity. I like its Moorish rigour. I needed to offer Gala a case more solemnly worthy of our love. That is why I gave her a mansion built on the remains of a 12th century castle: the old castle of Púbol in La Bisbal, where she would reign like an absolute sovereign, right up to the point that I could visit her only by hand-written invitation from her. I limited myself to the pleasure of decorating her ceilings so that when she raised her eyes, she would always find me in her sky".
Púbol Castle, is thus a highly significant place in Dalinian creation, a continuation of Portlligat with a personality of its own. It is Dalí's gift to his wife Gala, to whom he rendered himself in vassalage and to whom he could not gain access without written permission from her. Along that line we should note a handwritten note by Dalí, "Le château de Gala, la Gala du château" (sic), in the book by Jean-Charles Pichon, L'homme et les dieux .
Similarly, in a signed article he refers to Gala and to the Castle:
" I give you a Gothic castle as a gift, Gala.
I accept, with one condition, which is that:
You only come to visit me at the Castle on
invitation. I accept, since I accept
everything in principle, on condition that there are conditions.
It is the same condition as courtly love ".