2964 PAINTINGS painting Christ of St John of the Cross Dali, Salvador (1904 – 1989, Spanish) Spain, Port Lligat (place of manufacture) summer 1951 oil on canvas Spanish framed: 2385 mm x 1488 mm x 95 mm Painting entitled ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’, by Salvador Dali, summer 1951
|Who is Jesus 5|
You know the score – look at the image first. Spend some time really looking at the image, the face, and the background. How does the image make you feel? What questions does it raise? Do you think it’s a good representation of Jesus, and if so what attributes do you feel the artist is trying to portray? You may wish to write some of your thoughts down.
Here’s the first link: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8c/Christ_of_Saint_John_of_the_Cross.jpg
Following on from yesterday when Bird and Hirsch talked about humanity, we are looking at Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross. It’s called that because Dali used another image as inspiration. It was painted in 1951 as Dali reconnect with his Catholic faith. Dominican friar Andrew Brookes describes what Dai is trying to show us? ‘Dali has us view Christ and the cross directly from above and looking down on the array of clouds below and earth below that. It is a heavenly perspective, indeed that of God the Father. Interestingly the Son, Christ, shares the same perspective as the Father: his view follows and continues that of the Father. The fourth gospel stresses that the Son proceeds from the Father and is one with him, seeing and doing whatever the Father directs him to do. In a way the Father also offers the Son to the world, to save it. The fourth evangelist also stresses that Jesus is the master of his own destiny: he goes to his death because he chooses to…This majesty and freedom is brought out well by the lack of nails and the peaceful repose of the figure. John also stresses that the glory of Christ’s victory is already manifest in his actual death. As Jesus had said, ‘when I am raised up from the earth I will draw all people to myself (Jn 12:32). The glorious and serene Christ, situated above the clouds, speaks of a Christ already raised up, ascended to his Father. While we can look down on the Christ, in a way our gaze is also drawn upwards to the cross. This is achieved because the painting in fact has 2 perspectives. As well as, at the top, looking down from above, at the bottom of the painting we look straight into it, sharing its level so to speak. The bottom scene is very particular. It reminds me of the account of John and James being called while they mend their nets (Mk 1:19-20). In fact, it is set in the contemporary setting of the Spanish fishing village of Port Lligat in which Dali lived. Jesus dies not just for us in a universal way but for every person in their concrete individuality, and not just people back then but here and now. Viewed from here we can look up and, penetrating the clouds with faith, see Christ, at once very clearly physically human but filled with divine glory, immense, embracing everything, and pointing to the Father from whom he has come. The two perspectives found in the painting meet and produce an overall unity which destroys neither. Christ’s Paschal Mystery unites the divine and human and allows us to be caught up into the divine. The Father offers us his Son. But there is also a challenge. Do we, like John, want to get caught up in the redemptive work of Christ, a mystery known forever in God, but now made known for our salvation? And will we witness to it?’
I’ll send the next image anon…