A blog from the President of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
An unexpected crucifixion
Wandering through Glasgow's wonderful Kelvin Grove Art Gallery last week I noticed a darkened room featuring one very large work - Salvadore Dali's Cucifixion. A small reproduction of this work had hung on my father's study wall and to see the original brought back many memories as well as a fresh appreciation of a very fine work. Painted in 1951 the Gallery purchased the piece in 1952 for a then considerable 8000 pounds. Apparently there were large street demonstrations protesting the acquisition - so much to spend on one piece of art! The work also attracted much theological response, both appreciative and critical. Must do some research on that. At some stage a fanatic who clearly hated the depiction slashed and tore it which can be seen if you look very closely. Perhaps the most notable feature of the painting is the perspective. The viewer looks down on the crucified Christ. His face is not visible, just the top of his head. The cross is clearly planted in the earth (the Bay of Lligat, apparently, is the scene depicted) but spans to the heavens. It is a cosmic Christ. There are no nails securing him to the Cross, his body appears unblemished by the violence. Apparently Dali wanted the work to celebrate the beauty of Christ, more, I suspect, in the tradition of John's gospel, than Mark's.
Married to Clare with 4 kids, down to one still living at home. I'm a Uniting Church Minister, ordained for 25 years, mainly in congregational ministry, currently serving as President of UCA for three years ending mid 2012.