What’s new? Velázquez. Temporary exhibition in the Loggias Room of the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Temporary exhibition in the Loggias Room of the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí has presented the remodelled Loggias Room of the Dalí Theatre-Museum. Both architecturally and for exhibition purposes this refurbishment has upgraded the spaces included on the route normally taken around the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Since 1988, the Loggias Room has been assigned to exhibiting Salvador Dalí's later work. From the nineteen-sixties onwards, his creative thinking focused mainly on scientific matters and on recovering classical painting. This premise has been observed in the current refurbishment, while the contents of the exhibition have been extended.

This space temporarily houses Dalí's creative dialogue with Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), one of the classics in art history. It reveals Dalí's interest in Velázquez's timeless art. The exhibition, entitled What's new? Velázquez, consists of eleven paintings from between 1960 and 1982.

The title of this temporary exhibition is taken from the text written in 1976 and entitled Eureka, in which Salvador Dalí stated: "Since Impressionism, the entire history of modern art has focused on a single objective: reality. This might lead us to ask: What's new? Velázquez".

Dalí's interest in the master of Baroque art was nothing new. It went back a long way. Velázquez, indeed, is one of the "Great Masters of Painting" about whom Dalí wrote in his school's journal Studium in 1919. This fascination persisted: in the house at Portlligat there is a portrait of Velázquez -which appears as part of a gallery of moustached figures- while on one of his studio walls, a gridded reproduction of Las Meninas bore testimony to the painter's daily work.

A passion for Velázquez is also evident in Dali´s treaty 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship (1948), in which Velázquez is only surpassed by Vermeer in a comparative table drawn up by Dalí. It was from the nineteen-fifties onwards, particularly, that Velázquez's presence and influence grew and became evident in Dalí's writings and works.

Dalí would surely have appreciated Velázquez's custom of painting himself in the depicted scene. During the surrealist period, the painter's ambition was to express images of concrete irrationality with great precision, while he asserted that pictorial means of expression should be used to this end. In The Conquest of the Irrational Dalí stated: "As the images of concrete irrationality approach the phenomenally real, the corresponding means of expression approach those of great realist painting -Velázquez and Vermeer de Delft- to paint realistically according to irrational thought and according to the unknown imagination".

Years later, Dalí associated his theory of nuclear mysticism with Velázquez's treatment of form and colour. It is, however, the naturalism of Velázquez that persistently became one of Dalí's points of reference. Velázquez is a constant in his work: he appears each time Dalí is considering to embark on a new stage and take a step forward in his artistic development, both in composition and conceptually.