Inspiration: “The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Today I am dealing with the power that moved the intellect and emotions of a genius.
Salvador Dalí’s first source of inspiration was his beloved wife Gala (Kazan, Russia, 1894 – Portlligat, Spain, 1982). Her real name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova.
“I name my wife: Gala, Galushka, Gradiva; Oliva, for the oval shape of her face and the colour of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive for Olive; and its delirious derivatives Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette, because when she gets angry she roars like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion” (Salvador Dalí)
This post isn’t about Dalí’s first source of inspiration.
This post is about Dalí’s second source of inspiration …
Let me draw your attention to the map of Europe here below. If you look at it very carefully, most probably you’ll find Dalí’s second source of inspiration. I have surrounded it with a microscopic red circle. For your convenience, I have added four arrows pointing at that source of inspiration:
Ok. I understand. You can see the arrows, you found the little red circle, but you cannot see Dalí’s second source of inspiration. Neither do I. Don’t worry. Follow me. We’re visiting it: the telluric, protohistoric, surrealistic, enchanted stretch of Mediterranean coast that ignited a genius’ mind; a mysterious place known as “El Paratge de Tudela”.
Three monoliths welcome us.
In one of them …
… Salvador Dalí left me a message …
It’s written in the old Catalan language, and it means: “This stretch between the Camel and the Eagle, which you know and love just as much as I do, is and must be kept as pure geology, free of anything that could falsify it; for me it is a matter of principles. It is a mythological place made for gods rather than for humans and it must be kept as it is now”.
Access to this area is strongly restricted for humans. No traffic is allowed. No bicycles. You can visit it only on foot, and only on certain days; magic days.
El Paratge de Tudela is located in the North side of Cap de Creus (Cape Creus, cape of crosses), facing the “Mar d’Amunt”. Cape Creus is a cape, obviously, and a natural park too. The cape is the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and the eastern tip of the Pyrenees range. There is a lighthouse on it.
The surrealistic beauty of this landscape is the result of mixing two main ingredients: millions of years old rocks and the Tramuntana wind (North wind). And a pinch of Mediterranean salt, of course.
Some scholars maintain that this cape was hewn from the Pyrenees mountains by Hercules, the Greek hero, a bunch of centuries ago, but I tend to agree with the theory exposed in the paragraph above: very old rocks, crazy wind and a pinch of salt.
Thanks God, the crazy wind is on holidays today. Let’s go on.
The merciless sun isn’t on holidays today. It’s hot and there isn’t any shelter, any protecting shadow. A hat and a lot of sunscreen are mandatory if you ever visit this plutonic place. If you don’t take care, you can end up smashed by the Tramuntana wind and burned by Helios’ rage like the poor little pine tree you can see in the pic below. It attempted to grow in this wild territory. It was mad, wasn’t it? …
Geology. Tectonics. Mineralogy. We are walking through a rocky landscape of extraordinary beauty and geomorphological value.
The plan you can see in the pic below was drafted by Dalí himself. The rock you can see in the pic above (photo) is what Dalí calls “Águila Tudela, lugar sagrado” –“Tudela Eagle, sacred place”- in the plan (pic below).
With a little of imagination and lots of sunrays burning your head you’ll see an eagle here:
Let’s go on.
The Mediterranean Sea adds its fancy touch here and there.
The waters that surround Cap de Creus are pristine, crystal clear, wonderful.
Wandering in absolute solitude through this strange landscape you soon realize that the place is full of surrealistic monsters. Don’t panic and keep your mouth closed. Let them sleep.
Scientifics in general, and geologists in particular, most probably won’t see any monster here. They would tell you that the Tudela’s outcrops are among the best in the world, due to both their quality and quantity. They will see ductile deformation structures, folding structures, metamorphic rocks, metamorphism-plutonism-deformation relations, shear zones and forms of erosion practically everywhere.
But they are deathly wrong. Those things are neither rocks nor plutoanythings.
For instance, a geologist would tell you that this thing (pic below) is a Cambro-Ordovician schist, formed around 500 million years ago:
But really that thing is THE ENIGMA OF DESIRE.
The original “The Enigma of Desire” painting is exposed these days in Munich, Germany, in the Pinakothek der Moderne, in an exhibition called Traum Bilder (dream paintings).
Here below you have another example of the abovementioned geologists’ absurd interpretations. Any of them would tell you that this thing here below is a pegmatite rock:
Totally wrong! That bizarre thing is really the … You’d rather visit the Reina Sofía Museum, in Madrid (or its website) and you’ll see what Salvador Dalí saw.
In the Paratge de Tudela it is displayed some info about that rock and the corresponding painting by Dalí…
Dalí was a genius, no doubt. Scientifics are unable to find the innermost nature of things. Dalí found it with his insightful eye.
Wandering again and again through the Cap de Creus natural park, Dalí got inspiration to create surprising paintings, like “The maximum speed of Raphael’s Madonna”, “Deoxyribonucleicacid Arabs”or such an absolute masterpiece as “Christ of St John of The Cross”
Pegmatite, schist, gneiss, quartzite, slate … How many useful English words I am learning today!
The sun is killing me.
I am hungry.
This area is too dangerous for one’s mind.
“I do not understand why, when I order a grilled lobster I am never served a cooked telephone” (Salvador Dalí)
I think I am going to take a bath in the sea.
I need it. I also need to eat something.
Dalí was right: this is “a mythological place made for gods rather than for humans”
“Since I don’t smoke, I decided to grow a mustache – it is better for the health.
However, I always carried a jewel-studded cigarette case in which, instead of tobacco, were carefully placed several mustaches, Adolphe Menjou style. I offered them politely to my friends: ‘Mustache? Mustache? Mustache?’
Nobody dared to touch them. This was my test regarding the sacred aspect of mustaches.” (Salvador Dalí)
Oh my! This is the tranquil and wild Cala Culip!
Here we go!
That blurred white house in the background is Dalí’s house in Portlligat.
That sharp piece of bread in the foreground is my lunch.
Coming more or less soon: Part 3 of Covetotop’s groundbreaking series about Don Salvador Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Púbol.
- Salvador Dalí (Part 1): Introduction (covetotop.wordpress.com)