Script - Friday 11th May
The surrealist artist Salvador Dali was born this day in 1904.
His strange and prolific surrealist images have always been fascinating.
For me no visit to the great city of Glasgow is complete without a trip to the Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum to see my favourite Dali picture “Christ of St John of the cross”, though at this moment in time I’d be disappointed as the picture is on loan to London's Royal Academy of Arts.
The design is based on a 16th century drawing by the Spanish Priest and Mystic John of the Cross.
Dali is said to have dreamt that he should depict the death of Christ from the unusual angled and elevated perspective he chose. He has created a scene devoid of nails, blood or the crown of thorns. Despite this there is something agonising about the tension on the muscles and realism of human anatomy shown. Something I always find quite moving.
It was a controversial choice for the gallery provoking protest when they purchased it and put it on display in 1952. It has been criticised, vandalised, subsequently restored yet Dali’s depiction of Christ is one of the most enduring images of the crucifixion in the 20th century. A poll by the Glasgow Herald established that by 2005 it had become Scotland’s favourite painting.
Whether he intended it or not Dali’s painting has become an iconic image of the event that is central to Christianity.
St Paul speaks of Christ and the cross in his letter to the Colossians, “In him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
As we reflect on the Cross of Christ remind us of his costly love and gift life.