If you will recall, last year, the oldest clock in Paris was a featured FIND ME. This year, we’re changing it up and looking for another timekeeping piece, although one that doesn’t actually tell time. If you’re thinking that that doesn’t make sense, you’d be right. It doesn’t make sense. One might say it’s even a bit surreal. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that this month’s FIND ME is the Salvador Dali sundial.
Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist who became one of the most prominent members of the Surrealist movement of the 20th century. He moved to Paris in 1926, and quickly immersed himself in the community of expat artists who lived in the city during the 1920s. He became friends and colleagues with legendary artists such as Picasso, Man Ray, and Luis Buñuel, and revolutionized what it meant to be an eccentric artist. Dali eventually created over 1,500 paintings during his lifetime, many of which still reside in Paris to this day. In particular, the Dali Museum in Montmartre is home to over 300 artworks, making it the largest collection of Dali paintings in the world. But they aren’t the only artworks that Dali left in the city of light.
In 1966, a sundial was installed on Rue Saint-Jacques in the Latin Quarter. It features the image of a human head in a seashell, which acts as an homage to the Way of St. James, the namesake of Rue Saint-Jacques. Inside the shell, two flaming blue eyes look down on the pedestrians below. The sundial was designed by Dali himself, and he was actually on hand to install it in person. To this day, his signature can be seen on the bottom right corner.
FIND ME HINT
The Salvador Dali sundial can be found on Rue Saint-Jacques, about halfway between the Cluny Museum and Eglise Saint-Severin. And remember, this surrealist piece doesn’t actually tell time, so don’t depend on it to plan your day.
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Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.