El Cristo De Dali Analysis Essay

Inscription: Signed (lower right): Salvador Dali

the artist (sold in 1954, through the Carstairs Gallery, New York, to Dale); Chester Dale, New York (1954–55; his gift to MMA)

Rome. Sale dell'Aurora Pallavicini. "Mostra di quadri, disegni ed oreficerie, Dalí," 1954, no. 4 (as "Corpus ipercubicus").

New York. Carstairs Gallery. "Dalí," December 1954–January 1955, no. 7 (as "Corpus hipercubus. [Based on the treatise on cubic form by Juan de Herrera, builder of the Escorial]").

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. "Salvador Dalí: Rétrospective 1920–1980," December 18, 1979–April 14, 1980, no. 318 (as "Crucifixion" or "Corpus hypercubicus").

London. Tate Gallery. "Salvador Dalí," May 14–June 29, 1980, no. 216 (as "Crucifixion" or "Corpus hypercubicus").

Tokyo. Isetan Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," February 28–April 6, 1982, no cat. number (as "Corpus Hypercubicus").

Daimaru Art Museum, Osaka. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," April 22–May 5, 1982, no cat. number.

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," May 8–June 6, 1982, no cat. number.

Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," June 11–July 11, 1982, no. cat. number.

Barcelona. Palau Reial de Pedralbes. "400 obres de Salvador Dalí del 1914 al 1983," June 10–July 30, 1983, no. 355 (as "Crucifixió o Corpus Hipercubicus").

Mexico City. Museo Rufino Tamayo. "Dos Obras Maestras de Salvador Dali," March 12–April 20, 1986, unnum. brochure (as "Crucifixion").

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. "Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989," May 13–July 23, 1989, no. 251 (as "Corpus Hypercubus" or "Kreuzigung").

Spanish Pavilion, Seville World's Fair. "Treasures of Spanish Art," April 20–October 21, 1992, unnumbered cat. (p. 191).

St. Petersburg, Fla. Salvador Dalí Museum. "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)," March 13–September 4, 1994, unnum. brochure.

St. Petersburg, Fla. Salvador Dalí Museum. "Salvador Dalí: A Mythology," March 5–May 24, 1999, no. 50.

Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. "Dalí's Optical Illusions," January 21–March 26, 2000, no. 53 (as "Crucifixion [Corpus Hypercubicus]').

Washington, D. C. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. "Dalí's Optical Illusions," April 19–June 18, 2000, no. 53.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective," February 16–May 15, 2005, no. 225 (as "Crucifixion [Corpus Hypercubicus]").

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Salvador Dalí: La Gare de Perpignan—Pop, Op, Yes-yes, Pompier," March 18–June 25, 2006, no. 66 (as "Corpus hypercubus [Crucifixion]").

Roger Campion. "Passager de l' 'America': Salvador Dalí nous est revenu avec un christ 'Hypercubique' et un message pour Picasso." Le Havre Libre (March 30, 1953), p. 1, quotes the artist's statement upon arrival in the port of Le Havre on March 27, 1953 that he is planning a new painting of “an exploding Christ, nuclear and hypercubic” [see Ref. Taylor 2004] .

"! elO ! elO ! elO." Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) (April 1, 1953), p. 4B, quotes the artist's statement that this work "will be the big metaphysical work of my summer".

P. Festa Campanile. "Che ne pensate di Salvador Dalí?" La Fiera Letteraria (May 30, 1954), ill. p. 5 (detail).

Salvador Dalí. Io, Salvador Dalí. Rome, 1954, colorpl. 1 and ill. on front cover (color detail), calls it "Corpus Ipercubicus" and locates it in the collection of the artist.

Howard Devree. "About Art and Artists." New York Times (December 8, 1954), p. 32.

"Museum Acquires Its First Dali; 'Crucifixion' to Be Shown Today." New York Times (January 14, 1955), p. 23, ill., call it "The Crucifixion"; quote Chester Dale's description of being "bowled over" when he first saw this painting, his first purchase of a Dalí.

"Metropolitan Gets Its First Dali." Herald Tribune (January 14, 1955), ill., quotes the Met curator Theodore Rousseau Jr.'s explanation for his renaming this picture "The Crucifixion" because "it would make it easier to understand"; notes that Dalí based "the metaphysical concept of the work" on a treatise written by Juan de Herrera, a seventeenth-century Spanish architect; adds that the picture is on view in the Museum's Great Hall for six weeks.

Anne Kroll. "Letter to the Editor." New York Times (January 23, 1955), p. X15.

Frank O'Hara. "Salvador Dali." Art News 53 (January 1955), ill. p. 49.

"Dali Makes Met." Time 65 (January 24, 1955), p. 72, ill.

Walter Pach and A. Reynolds Morse. "Letters to the Editor. Dali: A No and a Yes." New York Times (February 6, 1955), p. X10.

Theodore Rousseau, Jr. "New Accessions of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (April 1956), p. 198, ill. p. 204, calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

Aline B. Saarinen. "New Regime at the National Gallery." New York Times (May 6, 1956), p. 30.

"The Private Treasures of Chester Dale." Vogue 128 (August 1956), p. 135, ill. (photograph of Chester Dale's apartment, New York, showing a reproduction of this work on display).

Michel Tapié. Dali. Paris, 1957, colorpl. XII.

Geoffrey T. Hellman. "Profiles: Custodian." New Yorker (October 25, 1958), pp. 52, 62, 64, 74, 77, quotes Chester Dale's account of purchasing this picture in order to give it to the Met.

A. Reynolds Morse. Dali: A Study of His Life and Work. Greenwich, Conn., 1958, p. 68, colorpl. XII.

John Canaday. "Dali for a Dollar." New York Times (May 29, 1960), p. X9.

Frank and, Dorothy Getlein, Bruce Publishing Company. Christianity in Modern Art. Milwaukee, 1961, pp. 78, 84, 86, fig. 35.

Robert Descharnes. The World of Salvador Dali. New York, 1962, pp. 184, 223, ill. p. 185 (color).

Max Gérard. Dalí de Draeger. [Paris], 1968, unpaginated, colorpl. 98, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Salvador Dalí. Dalí by Dalí. New York, 1970, ill. pp. 74–75 (color detail).

A. Reynolds Morse. Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904– ): Catalog of a Collection. Ninety-Three Oils 1917–1970. Cleveland, 1972, p. 180, no. 4, ill. p. 181, calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

A. Reynolds Morse. Salvador Dali, Spanish (1904– ): A Guide to His Works in Public Museums. Cleveland, 1973, ill. p. 24.

Max Gérard. Dali... Dali... Dali. New York, 1974, colorpl. 51.

Robert Descharnes. Salvador Dali. New York, 1976, pp. 46, 152, 154, colorpl. 45, notes that this picture was started in the spring of 1953, but not completed until 1954.

Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Dalí. New York, 1979, p. 135, ill. pp. 136–38 (color, overall and detail), 235, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Eleonora Bairati in Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Dalí. New York, 1979, p. 63.

Simon Wilson. Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1980, pp. 20, 30, no. 216, ill. n. p. (color).

Jean-Louis Ferrier. "Dali et la transcendance d'en bas." Hommage à Dali. Ed. Alain Jouffroy. Paris, 1980, pp. 50–51, ill., calls it "Corpus hypercubicus".

Robert Descharnes inRétrospective Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1982, unpaginated, ill. (color) and front cover (color).

Albert Field inRétrospective Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1982, unpaginated.

Dawn Ades. Dalí and Surrealism. New York, 1982, p. 178, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Ignacio Gómez de Liaño. Dalí. (1st ed., Barcelona, 1982). New York, 1984, p. 30, colorpl. 108, calls it "Crucifixion ('Hypercubic Body')".

Linda Dalrymple Henderson. "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion." Leonardo 17, no. 3 (1984), p. 208, notes that Dalí was influenced by the twelfth-century Catalonian mystic, Raimondo Lulio, as well as by the writings of Juan de Herrera, when he created this work.

Claire Pélissié. "Le Maniérisme et Salvador Dalí." L'Oeil no. 352 (November 1984), pp. 40–41, fig. 9 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

William S. Lieberman in20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 2, Painting: 1945–1985. New York, 1986, pp. 6, 30–31, ill. (color, overall and detail).

William S. Lieberman. Dali. Exh. brochure, Museo Rufino Tamayo. Mexico City, [1986], unpaginated, ill. (color).

Jaume Socias Palau. "Fin y comienzo de Salvador Dali." Goya no. 208 (January–February 1989), p. 221, ill. p. 219 (installation photo, with the artist).

Karin v. Maur. Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989. Exh. cat., Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Stuttgart, 1989, pp. 328, 330, 496, no. 251, ill. p. 329 (color).

Carlton Lake. In Quest of Dalí. (1st ed., 1969). New York, 1990, pp. 27, 229–30.

Paul Moorhouse. Dalí. London, 1990, pp. 101–2, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Salvador Dalí. Diary of a Genius. Ed. Michel Déon. (1st ed., Paris, 1964). London, 1990, pp. 95, 100–102, 104–6, 108, 110, 112–16, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Edward Lucie–Smith in Salvador Dalí. Diary of a Genius. Ed. Michel Déon. London, 1990, p. 11.

Antonio Bonet Correa inTreasures of Spanish Art. Exh. cat., Spanish Pavilion, Seville World's Fair. [Barcelona], 1992, pp. 190–91, ill. (color).

Meredith Etherington-Smith. Dalí: A Biography. London, 1992, p. 391, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Harriet E. Brisson. "Visualization in Art and Science." Leonardo 25, no. 3/4 (1992), pp. 259, 262 n. 14, dates it 1955.

Thomas Banchoff and Davide P. Cervone. "Illustrating 'Beyond the Third Dimension'." Leonardo 25, no. 3/4 (1992), p. 280, fig. 14.

Jaime Brihuega. Miró y Dalí: Los grandes surrealistas. Madrid, 1993, p. 80, ill. (color).

James R. Mellow. "His Brother's Mustache." New York Times (December 19, 1993), p. BR 10.

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus). Exh. brochure, Salvador Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, Fla., 1994, unpaginated, ill. cover (color).

Robert Descharnes and Gilles Néret. Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989: The Paintings. Vol. 2, 1946–1989. Cologne, 1994, pp. 512, 552, 766, no. 1043, ill. p. 467 (color), call it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Ralf Schiebler. Dalí: Genius, Obsession and Lust. Munich, 1996, pp. 98, 127, ill. p. 96 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

Juan Antonio Ramírez inDalí Arquitectura. Ed. Felix Fanés. Exh. cat., La Pedrera. Barcelona, 1996, p. 139, fig. 60.

Dawn Ades inDalí's Optical Illusions. Ed. Dawn Ades. Exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Hartford, Conn., 2000, pp. 164–67, no. 53, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Alberto Marío Perrone. Salvador Dalí, escándalo, transgresión y genio. Buenos Aires, 2001, pp. 118–19, ill.

Gilles Néret. Salvador Dalí 1904–1989. Cologne, 2002, pp. 81, 96, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Robert Hughes. The Portable Dalí. New York, 2003, pp. 415, 419, ill. p. 299 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Marco Di Capua. Salvador Dalí: Su Vida, Su Obra. (1st ed., Milan, 1994). Barcelona, 2003, pp. 227, 236–37, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus hypercubus".

Michael R. Taylor in Dawn Ades. Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice. London, 2004, pp. 368–71, no. 225, ill. (color, overall and detail), dates it 1953–54, noting that the artist began this painting in spring 1953, completing it the following year.

Dawn Ades. Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice. London, 2004, p. 21.

Elliott H. King. "Winged Fantasy with Lead Feet: The Influence of Llullism and Hiparxiologi on Dalí's Mysticism." Persistence and Memory: New Critical Perspectives on Dalí at the Centennial. Ed. Hank Hine, William Jeffett, and Kelly Reynolds. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2004, pp. 190, 193 n. 19, fig. 6, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Enric Bou. Daliccionario: Objetos, mitos y símbolos de Salvador Dalí. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 96–98.

Salvador Dalí: Obra Completa. Vol. 8, Álbum. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 225, 227–29, fig. 319 (color).

Màrius Carol and Josep Playà. El enigma Dalí. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 76, 201, ill. between pp. 320 and 321 (color).

Alan Riding. "Unmasking a Surreal Egotist." New York Times (September 28, 2004), p. E6.

George Stolz. "The Great Late Salvador Dalí." Art News 104 (February 2005), p. 124, ill. (color).

William Jeffett inDalí and the Spanish Baroque. Exh. cat., Salvador Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2007, pp. 51, 72–73, 77, 102, fig. 28 (color), calls it "The Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)".

Michael R. Taylor. "The Dalí Renaissance." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, pp. 9–10, 14, figs. 8 (installation photo, Exh. Philadelphia 2005) and ill. front cover (color detail), dates it 1953–54.

Jonathan Wallis. "Holy Toledo! Saint John of the Cross, Paranoiac-Critical Mysticism, and the Life and Work of Saint Dalí." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, p. 45.

David Lomas. "'Painting is dead—long live painting!' Notes on Dalí and Leonardo." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, pp. 167, 178.

Dawn Ades. "Reminiscences of Dalí: A Conversation with Amanda Lear and Ultra Violet." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, p. 209.

Frédérique Joseph-Lowery. Ray Johnson...Dali/Warhol and others, "Main Ray, Ducham, Openheim, Pikabia...". Exh. cat., Richard L. Feigen & Co. New York, 2009, pp. 9, 23, 28.

Elliott H. King inSalvador Dalí: The Late Work. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 2010, p. 30, fig. 18 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

William Jeffett. Dalí Doubled: From Surrealism to the Self. A New Critical View of Dalí. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2010, pp. 237, 249, 251–52, 320, fig. 150 (color), calls it "The Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" in the list of figures and "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)" in the essay.

Javier Pérez Segura. Scandal & Success. Picasso, Dalí y Miró en Estados Unidos (El Instituto Carnegie y otros relatos americanos). Madrid, 2012, p. 224, calls it "Christus Hypercubus (Corpus hypercubus)".

Catherine Grenier. Salvador Dalí: The Making of an Artist. Paris, 2012, p. 216, ill. p. 213 (color).

Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 528, ill. (color), colorpl. 462.

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.


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 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. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the "three" but in the four, merry they be.[1]


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]

In order to create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle [3] and also envisage the pull of gravity on the human body. The depicted body of water is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí's residence at the time of the painting.[4]


The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s by Tom Honeyman, then the Director of Glasgow Museums. Honeyman bought the painting for £8,200, a price considered high at the time although it was less than the £12,000 catalogue price, and included the copyright, which has earned Glasgow Museums back the original cost many times over.[5]

The purchase was controversial and a petition against it, arguing that the money should be spent on exhibition space for local artists, was presented to the City Council by students at Glasgow School of Art.[6] The controversy caused Honeyman and Dalí to become friends, corresponding with each other for many years after the original acquisition.[3]

The painting first went on display at the city's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on 23 June 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands.[7] It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display.[8] 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.[9]

It is said that the Spanish government offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

This painting has continued to generate controversy. At the time of its purchase by Honeyman, the verdict by modern art critics was that producing such a traditional painting was a stunt by an artist already famous for his surrealist art.[5] In 2009 The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as "kitsch and lurid", but noted that the painting was "for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century."[11]

In May 2013, in BBC Radio 4's Great Lives, British poet John Cooper Clarke described this image as being utterly different from any other image of the crucifixion, as the angle of view conveys the hanging pain of this method of execution, whilst hiding the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen in such depictions.[12]


  1. ^Gaultier, Alyse. The Little Book of Dalí. Paris: Flammarion, 2004.
  2. ^Descharnes, Robert. Dalí. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
  3. ^ abDavies, Gill Davies (23 June 2011). "Scotland's favourite painting: Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross". BBC Scotland. 
  4. ^Meisler, Stanley (April 2005). "The Surreal World of Salvador Dalí". Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  5. ^ ab"Salvador Dali's 'Christ of St John of the Cross' Scotland's Favorite". Art Knowledge News. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  6. ^"Controversy". Glasgow Museums. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  7. ^"Dali painting to be shown in New York. "Special Insurance" by Exhibitor". The Glasgow Herald. 22 September 1965. p. 5. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  8. ^Polly Smith, Senior Conservator (8 Jul 2011). How to Restore a Salvador Dali Masterpiece. Glasgow Museums. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  9. ^"Salvador Dali's 'Christ of St John of the Cross' Wins Herald Poll", GlasgowMuseums.com, 30 August 2005.
  10. ^Ross, Peter (2 July 2006). "Palace of dreams — That's how Kelvingrove was described ..."The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  11. ^Jones, Jonathan (27 January 2009). "Kitsch and lurid but also a glimpse of a strange soul". The Guardian. 
  12. ^"BBC Radio 4 - Great Lives, Series 30, Salvador Dali". Great Lives. BBC. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 

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