Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí 1951, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
At the start of May this year (2017) I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgowm, there are many great works of art there, including a full collection of works by the Glasgow boys group of artists, I will share some of their paintings very soon.
One of the most famous works of art in the Gallery is “Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí painted in 1951”, the painting has its own viewing room with subdued lighting and a set of seats, so you can spend sometime viewing this amazing work of art by Dali. It was while in this room that I captured the above image of the painting.
There is something deep and spiritually moving about this painting even if your not a believer in its subject matter.
Here are some details :
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.
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!”
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  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.
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.
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. The controversy caused Honeyman and Dalí to become friends, corresponding with each other for many years after the original acquisition.
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. It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display. 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.
It is said that the Spanish government offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting.
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. 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.”
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.
At the start of April this year I promised myself that I would go and visit some Art Gallery’s and cultural museums one of these vists was to The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The museum and art gallery in located in Glasgow, Scotland. It reopened in 2006 after a three-year refurbishment and since then has been one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions.
The gallery is located on Argyle Street, in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin (opposite the architecturally similar Kelvin Hall, which was built in matching style in the 1920s, after the previous hall had been destroyed by fire). It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.
Floating Heads Installation by Sophie Cave
Just one of the many installations the Gallery has to offer is by Artist Sophie Cave …
If you Ever had that feeling that a hundred set of eyes are watching you then Sophie Cave sculptures turn the feeling into a reality!
The Floating Heads installation located in one of the open public areas in the Gallery, literally turn your head around the moment you first see this work. Sophie Cave has created over 50 sculptures of heads, each displaying different emotions including laughter and despair. The heads are completely white, but are lit so that their expressions are accentuated, which gives the installation a somewhat eerie feel. Since the installation is hung over the foyer, it is one of the first things youwill see when they enter the museum.
Its a great installation as it truly makes you stop and look at each of the heads as they slowly move around to face your direction, I relay enjoyed this work 🙂 🙂
Kelvingrove, Art Gallery, Glasgow
The Lighthouse Museum, Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture, is a visitor center, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow, just off the Style Mile. The Lighthouse acts as a beacon for the creative industries in Scotland and promotes design and architecture through a vibrant programme of exhibitions and events.
The Museum building formerly housed the Glasgow Herald, it was the first public commission completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and is the perfect place to begin a Mackintosh tour of Glasgow, as it has a permanent exhibition of his work.
We visited both the viewing tower and all the great exhibitions three weeks ago, it was one of the highlights of our time in this great Scottish city…..
These images show the spiral staircase that accesses the viewing tower and a view from each of the platforms at the top.
As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the world, the Clyde was dredged to allow ships to sail all the way to Glasgow, rather than stopping at Port Glasgow which had previously been the case. As well as turning Glasgow into an important port, it transformed the city from one of trade to one of manufacturing, specifically steel work and shipbuilding. As factories and shipyards sprung up, the city’s population boomed to a breaking point of over one million (almost double the current number), and one of first cities in Europe to do so.
The Clyde’s reputation and success continued until World War II, when several of the shipyards were struck by the Luftwaffe during The Blitz. This, coupled with post-war competition from other nations, saw the decline of shipbuilding in Glasgow. In present day, the only two surviving yards, Yarrow and Fairfields, are both owned and operated by BAE Systems.
However, this decade has brought with it renewed investment in the waterway and its banks, thanks to the Clyde Waterfront Regeneration project. One of the prime examples is the Glasgow Digital Media Quater located at Pacific Quay; it is new home of the television companies BBC and STV, as well as other media companies. Next door to this, directly across from the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), is the Glasgow Science Centre, IMAX Cinema AND Glasgow Tower. Further along, in the neighbouring town of Renfrew, lies the Braehead Shopping Centre and Xscape Leisure Centre, directly across from the King George V Docks. Next to the shopping centre is the newest of Glasgow’s parks, the Clyde View Park. It features statues by artist Kenny Munro, which he designed with the help and input of Renfrewshire’s schoolchildren.
Of course, a river would not be so handy if there were not bridges to cross the tremendous flowing waters. Thankfully, Glasgow has a staggering 21 bridges crossing the Clyde. These are a mixture of road, rail and footbridges that speak volumes about the history of the city, from their names and design to the type of transport they were designed for. In addition to these there is the Clyde Tunnel, which delves under the river connecting Govan with Scotstoun and Partick.
The Bridges can all be seen as part of the Clyde Heritage Trail. For more information and articles about the River Clyde and her features, please visit the Clyde Waterfront Heritage website, and also the Riverside Museum.
1. Millennium Bridge (2002)
2. Bells Bridge (1989)
3. Clyde Arc / The Squinty Bridge (2006)
4. Kingston Bridge (1970)
5. Tradeston Footbridge (2008)
6. George V Bridge (1929)
7. 2nd Caledonian Railway Bridge (1905)
8. 1st Caledonian Railway Bridge (1878)
9. Glasgow Bridge (1899)
10. South Portland Street Suspension Bridge (1853)
11. Victoria Bridge (1854)
12. The City Union Railway Bridge (1899)
13. Albert Bridge (1871)
14. Tidal Weir and Pipe Bridge (1901 (rebuilt 1949)
15. St. Andrew’s Suspension Bridge (1856)
16. King’s Bridge (1933)
17. Polmadic Bridge (1955)
18. Rutherglen Bridge (1896)
19. 1st Dalmarnock Railway Bridge (1861)
20. 2nd Dalmarnock Railway Bridge (1897)
21. Dalmarnock Bridge (1897)
We just returned from a great long weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, visiting many of the city’s great attractions. Glasgow has always been one of my most loves European cities with its great river and surrounding mountains, stunning Victorian architecture including central station and its many hotels and city blocks.
What a wonderful weekend, the weather was perfect for the two full days, blue blue sky’s and it was warm for March 🙂 🙂