The Sea Urchin Eating Ritual That May Have Helped Salvador Dalí Paint

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Salvador Dalí was a Spanish artist known for his famous surrealist works and extravagant personality. Whether you've been lucky enough to observe his famed "The Persistence of Memory" painting at the Museum of Modern Art or you've viewed photos of some of his unique sculptures in an art class, you've likely come across a couple of his works in your lifetime. As one of the most well-known artists in the world, Dalí mesmerized audiences with his intensely technical yet incredibly unique paintings, sculptures, and visionary forays, which have helped pave the way for a new wave of creative expression, according to the Dalí museum.

The Art Story notes that although Dalí was, of course, known for his work, his exuberant personality was just as notable. He was a bit of a provocateur and very superstitious. Artsy notes one of his quirks included carrying a small part of Spanish driftwood around with him to keep evil spirits away. He had many peculiar idiosyncrasies like this, including a ritual of eating dozens of sea urchins at once.

Sea urchin slumber

According to Amazon, in Dalí's book "50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship," he outlines his artistic advice for aspiring artists and unconventional and humorous insights into his world. Among the dozens of secrets handed out in the book, number four has to do with sea urchins. As Dangerous Minds notes, this section is titled "the secret of the sea-urchin slumber" and lays out the painter's specific ritual.

His book reads, "To begin with, you will eat three dozen sea urchins, gathered on one of the last two days that precede the full moon, choosing only those whose star is coral red and discarding the yellow ones." These urchins, according to Dalí, have "sedative and narcotic virtues so special and so propitious to your approaching slumber." As he alludes to at the end of this passage, the sea urchin binge should be followed up with a four-and-a-half-hour nap. After the sea urchin-induced nap, one should stare at their blank canvas and be ready for inspiration to hit, according to Departures. These rather bizarre instructions of how and when to eat sea urchins likely weren't replicated by many.

Many of Dalí's paintings did happen to include beautiful renditions of sea urchins, including his whimsical 1967 painting simply titled "Sea Urchin." While it's not advisable to binge on dozens of sea urchins in one sitting, maybe snacking on a few could accrue some artistic abilities inside you — only one way to find out.