Love story » Ljubavna priča | 31 We’ll skiptheboring introductions andbiographical data – everyone who loves and appreciates theworkof the legendaryDalí already knows them, at least in principle. e love story of Dalí’s life, his true fairy tale, is one of the most bizarre, most interesting and “most loving” love stories of the 20th century. Who was Gala? Gala was actually Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, a beautiful Russian woman fromKazan. A secretive, passionate and intuitive woman, she was an attractive lady with olive skin and black eyes, who was a favourite among the circles of the intellectual elite. She had the ability to “sniff out” creative genius amile away, and gladly spent days and hours with them, charming and inspiring them. Gala set sail on the waters of marriage with French poet Paul Éluard, with whom she had a daughter, Cécile, but instead of being a peaceful harbour for her, this relationship was only a “ticket” to make acquaintances with the greatest artists of the time. And then she met a 25-year-old Salvador Dalí, a quite unusual eccentric who was also her junior by a decade. Encounter like a thunderbolt Dalí described that first moment in his diary; the explosive encounter that determined their lives and coloured themwith madness, success and fear. “She is destined to bemyGradiva [the titular character ofW. Jensen’s novel], the one who moves forward my victory, my wife,” he wrote. And indeed, from then until death, Gala was Dalí’s to the core, to the bone, she was the choice of his life and an essential – like air or food. For Salvador,meetingGalawas likebeinghitbya thunderbolt – she fit perfectly into the image of an unfamiliar, elegant woman who often “haunted” him in his dreams. Stories tell of how the legendary painter, before heading out for a date with the beautiful Russian lady, smeared himself with his own blood, tore his clothes and scented himself with disgusting fish glue. “ atwas amoment of weakness andmadness, and it describedhowI felt before ImetGala. Yes, Iwas completely insane before her, my brain was close to the brain of a pathological patient. She created out of my life real mysticismandreal classicism,” saidtheSpaniard inone interview. Love as the centre of the Universe Gala was for Dalí an inexhaustible and eternal source of inspiration, a secret ingredient of verve and happiness in his life. Testifying to the greatness of his love is the fact that all the female characters in Dalí’s paintings were inspired by her, and he signed most of his paintings with Gala-Salvador Dalí. She took on the role of his faithful companion, ally and friend, but was also a good organiser, great assistant and advocate, or actually a kind of manager. She turned his art into a machine for making money, and in the race to accumulate wealth she was cunning, dedicated and direct - she never shied away from asking for more money for her husband’s works. She often read to him while he was painting, but also told him what to paint, which colours to use and what mistakes to correct. Salvador and Gala’s love was great, but also infinitely insane, unrestrained, filled with sin and contradictions – just as they themselves were. Gala was disliked bymany – they described her as “a woman of bad temper, disgusting and rude, who is like an angry dog”, who was loved by Salvadoronlybecausehishysteriawouldhavebecomemorbid without her. However, this fascinating lady survived only in the eyes of others, as there arenodocuments, letters, records or interviews that would testify to how she felt and what she really thought. e fact is that this elegant Russian was the woman who allowed Dalí to be a showman, carefully pulling the strings behind the screen; shewas the only one who could follow him, understand him; she was his strength, his muse, the foundation of his creativity... is arrogant eccentric claimed that he would have been a miserable genius who had hallucinations if Gala hadn’t appeared, but in his outbursts of rage he would sometimes say that all his eruptions, unreasonable actions and farces were in fact born of his tragic wish to affirm himself in the eyes of Gala, who was for him the physical manifestation of God. Without Gala like being without the sun e greatest punishment and tragedy of life for him was that he had to live for another seven years after Gala’s death. He buried her in her favourite red Dior dress at the Castle of Púbol, which was her beloved haven and his gift to her. Without her, Dalí’s life lost meaning and direction; he no longer had a compass – he became grey, didn’t eat, scratchedhis face, constantly screamed and cried, and never again painted anything. Hewandered the house delirious, tiredof hallucinations, talking only aboutGala. He was often found by her grave at night. He died in 1989 to the sounds of the opera Tristan and Isolde. He was buried in his hometown of Figueres, near Barcelona, where his museum is located, which you must visit if you’re a fan of Dalí. Air Serbia flies to Barcelona, so don’t miss the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the life and art of a genius. Za Dalija je Gala bila nepresušna i večna inspiracija, tajni sastojak poleta i sreće Gala was for Dalí an inexhaustible and eternal source of inspiration, a secret ingredient of verve and happiness umro je uz zvuke opere Tristan i Izolda He died to the sounds of the opera Tristan and Isolde 1989.