Christ of St John of the Cross

Detail from Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador DaliDetail from Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali
Painted in 1951 and purchased by the City of Glasgow in 1952, Dali’s iconic painting has become one of the best-loved in the entire collection, amongst Glaswegians and visitors.​

The painting was one of the more controversial purchases made by Dr Tom Honeyman, then Director of Glasgow Museums. It is now widely recognised that Dr Honeyman made a very astute decision, in proposing to the then Glasgow Corporation, that the painting should be purchased for the city.

Not only did Honeyman secure the painting for less than the catalogue price, he also purchased the copyright for the work from Salvador Dali, thus ensuring a long-term legacy from the purchase.

Initially though, the painting was not well-received by everyone, with students from Glasgow School of Art arguing that the money could have been used to purchase work from Glaswegian or Scottish artists.

After going on display at Kelvingrove in 1952, the Dali attracted visitors in their droves. 

The painting's presence in the Glasgow Museums' collection hasn't been without drama though, having been damaged twice, most famously when the canvas was badly torn by a visitor wielding a sharp stone. Conservators at Kelvingrove were able to repair the painting to the extent that the damage is now barely visible. 

More than 60 years on since its original purchase, the enduring appeal of the painting shows no signs of diminishing and it is now one of the most popular exhibits in the museum.​

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