The Many Depictions of Christ, Salvador Dali-Style

1cd9cee0-d81d-11e5-8eb0-3b3f4ea0d3df

By Paul Chimera

Salvador Dali Historian

 

Christians honor the real reason for the season – not that they don’t also lock a big holiday hug on jolly old Saint Nick – and this brings us to – of all people – Salvador Dali.

 

Dali’s religious art in general is legendary and impressive. And his depictions of Jesus Christ in particular are pretty widely known; some consider them examples of his very best work.

 

But I must admit it never quite occurred to me just how prolific Dali was when it came to portraying Christ. The works that leap immediately to mind are the oil paintings, Christ of St. John of the Cross, The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion), in Glasgow, Scotland; Washington, D.C., and New York City, respectively.

 

8211617132_3f9c80a048_b 91sT5Yo9-SL__SY450_ 5115991084_5cfcbfb5d8_z

 

But there are more. Many more. Most that probably don’t leap so readily to mind, but are indeed significant. And Salvador Dali’s depictions of the Creator span all mediums: oils, prints, watercolors, drawings, sculpture – even jewelry.

 

Of his Art-in-Jewels piece, Lapis Lazuli Cross, Dali wrote, “Rays of diamonds represent the Light of Christ; the rubies, His Blood. The tree of engraved gold is mounted on cubes of lapis lazuli, the whole signifying in color and form and matter, the Strength and the Power of Christ.”

 

9999

Lapis Lazuli Cross (left)

 

It’s also interesting to see the disparate way Dali actually rendered his images of Jesus. For example, he showed him from the extraordinary vantage point of the viewer being above Christ’s head (God the Father’s view) in the iconic Christ of St. John of the Cross; his face is not seen.

 

He showed Christ emerging from a hypercube in the mathematically ingenious Corpus Hypercubus (a.k.a., Crucifixion); again, his face is not seen.

 

And yet we very much discern a distinctive portrait of Christ in Dali’s The Sacred Heart of Jesus ( albeit his eyes are downcast).

 

the-sacred-heart-of-jesus_jpg!Large

 

Then there was a kind of “ghosted” treatment of Christ, where his figure could easily be missed altogether, unless you know to look for it. I’m talking right in the very center of the large masterwork, whose lengthy title is typically abbreviated to The Perpignan Railway Station. Astute observers will also notice the bloody gash in Christ’s right side.

 

imagesF8KPU97C

 

Then there’s Christ on the cross – which replaces the sword often brandished by such horsemen – held in the hand of the Apostle, St. James, in the 1957 masterpiece, Santiago El Grande (shown here in a detail).

 

 3047746-Salvador_Dalis_Santiago_el_Grande-Fredericton

 

Let’s enjoy, then – as oils, prints, drawings, sculpture and more – the many manners in which Salvador Dali depicted Jesus Christ, as we get ever closer to the celebration of his birth – a most joyous and, yes, Dalinian time of year . . .

Dali depicted the Lord in many prints and drawings . . .

 

35_3 69875 12151357_2 16767851_1 20170610_121447_l 22049508_1 16980680670_620d2cee2f_b picture-artwork-christ-1000-1000-85308 crist_tramontana_editora_84_6_1_480 drawing-for-christ-of-st-john-of-the-cross-c1951 lf picture-artwork-christ-1000-1000-85308 salvador-dalí-christ wb1958_28305s-l300

 

And in additional, remarkable paintings . . .

 

0892 8682ea42582e51695b1661f6d885c742 alpha-omega-arts-inspire-me-artist-salvador-dali-salvador-dali-religious-paintings jgjfmwkonfb01 Dali_DiscoveryOfAmerica dali-pieta mediaGallery merlin_141675747_f4ebf7e8-3d49-4c1c-a16b-522830c3cc65-articleLarge rock-figure-after-the-head-of-christ-in-the-pieta-of-palestrina-by-michelangelo The_Ecumenical_Council_by_Salvador_Dali tumblr_inline_p7y294hwvq1qkqzlv_500

 

Sculpted pieces also honored the image of Christ . . .

 

436283 Christ_1_master Dali_Christ_of_Saint_John_of_the_Cross_master dd2d6cd29ad657110e02ae5e3a713105--salvador-dali-paintings-spain 0b5f0414-e19a-11e6-9572-75de7a0e5a4d 1_c4009733a3d2b4ea8a8620e28ba1c917

 

Through it all, the lighter side of Salvador Dali managed to break through, from time to time . . .

 

405950_2929118511387_493026195_n

 

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah,  and happy holidays to the loyal readers of this blog from The Salvador Dali Society, Inc.

 

 

[Images gratefully used under Fair Use provisions for journalistic purposes only]

PSSSST! Love Dali?

Sign up to join The Salvador Dali "Secret" Society®

Stay updated on offerings, events, and more!