Christ of Saint John of the Cross

Christ of Saint John of the Cross
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1951
Type Oil on canvas
Dimensions 205 cm × 116 cm (80.7 in × 45.67 in)
Location Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns, because, according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle evident in the painting was revealed to him.

Contents

Title

Crucifixion sketch by St. John of the Cross. Dali was inspired by this drawing.

The painting is known as the "Christ of Saint John of the Cross," because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th century Spanish friar Saint John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ's arms; the circle is formed by Christ's head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought.[1]

Inspiration

On the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained its inspiration: "In the first place, in 1950, I had a 'cosmic dream' in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the 'nucleus of the atom.' This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it 'the very unity of the universe,' the Christ!"[2]

Location

The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired by Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s for £8,200, a price considered high at the time and went on display at the city's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. In 1961, the canvas was damaged by a visitor to the museum (using a brick) because he objected that the viewpoint of the artist was looking down rather than up on the subject. It has since been successfully restored. In 1993, the painting was moved to the city's St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but returned to Kelvingrove for its reopening in July 2006. It won a poll to decide Scotland's favourite painting in 2006, with 29% of the vote.[3]

Spanish offer

The Spanish government is said to have offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting, but the offer was turned down.[4]

References

  1. ^ Gaultier, Alyse. The Little Book of Dali. Paris: Flammarion, 2004.
  2. ^ Descharnes, Robert. Dali. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
  3. ^ "Salvador Dali's 'Christ of St John of the Cross' Wins Herald Poll", GlasgowMuseums.com, August 30, 2005.
  4. ^ Ross, Peter (July 2, 2006), Palace of dreams — That's how Kelvingrove was described ..., The Herald (Glasgow), http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20060702/ai_n16532511 

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