Kelvingrove | Dali: Christ of St John of the Cross

June 10, 2014

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 Christ of St. John of the Cross, Salvador Dali, 1951

Housed in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a number of beautiful art pieces by a huge selection of famous artists as well as those who are lesser known. There are specific exhibits dedicated to different art movements or artists from certain areas of the world but there is only one that I always have to go see.

It is no secret to anyone who remotely knows me that I am a massive Salvador Dali fan. After all, I do have a copy of Swans Reflecting Elephants hanging in my living room. Probably best known for "Persistence of Memory" (or the melting clocks), the surrealist was always seen as a bit of an eccentric. His extensive use of symbolism and of  his self-developed paranoiac-critical method which he described as a  "spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena" makes Dali's work instantly recognisable.

Despite longing to go visit Figueres and Port Lligat in Spain to see the Dali Museums, the only actual piece of artwork I have ever seen in real life is the magnificent Christ of St. John of the Cross, 1951. Acquired by Dr. Tom Honeyman for Glasgow Corporation, Christ of St John of the Cross was first displayed in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting and tore the canvas. Although it was successfully restored after months of work, if you look closely enough you can still see the tear.

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 This sketch was given to Dr. Tom Honeyman who at the time was Director of Glasgow Art Gallery. The inscription translates as, "For my friend Honeyman, with much affection, Salvador Dali"

I have seen the painting on a couple of occasions now but when we took our most recent trip I insisted going into the little room that it is displayed and to take a few minutes just to look at the large canvas. It's 205 cm × 116 cm (80.7 in × 45.67 in) if you are wondering. Although it holds no religious significance for me, the painting gives me absolute chills. At school I chose to study this painting (along with the Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1968-70)  for my Standard Grade art class and went onto study three more of his paintings in Higher (The Phantom Cart, 1933, Geological Justice, 1936 and Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937). I have a huge amount of admiration for anyone that talented.

It might not be his typical surrealist piece but it really is quite the masterpiece.

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  1. I have a print of Swans Reflecting Elephants too! Love Dali's work :) x

    1. It's definitely one of my favourite pieces. The one that hangs in my living room is made even more special by the fact that my other half bought it for me for my 21st birthday :)
      Debi x

  2. I have to admit, I just don't get art. But I think it's because I haven't found an 'art' that I love. Paintings and such, just don't strike a cord with me. If I like a painting, I like the painting but I'm not really into art, or artsy things in general haha. I lack any creativity in my life ;)

    1. I always think of myself as quite a creative person I love art. That being said, sometimes I can't help but see a painting or whatever and think "how the hell is that art? It's horrible!" Haha. There's some artists or art styles that I just can't stand!
      Debi x


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