The iconic Salvador Dali painting Christ of St John of the Cross has returned home to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum after a successful loan to The High Museum in Atlanta. The painting, a highlight for the hundreds of thousands who visit Kelvingrove each year is being re-hung in its own room in Kelvingrove alongside some preliminary sketches and photographs.
Christ of St John of the Cross spent six months in America as the focal point of a major Dali retrospective. Whilst on its recent loan, it was revealed the painting was admired by Senator Robert Kennedy when it was on loan in the USA in the 1960s The painting was bought for Glasgow’s collection in the early 1950s and was voted Scotland’s favourite painting in 2007.
Dali set his Crucifixion in the landscape of Port Lligat, on the coast of Catalonia in Northern Spain, a place he had known all his life, and where the picture was actually painted. He often went out in his boat to study the rocks of the Cap de Creus. Those in his painting are the same ones slightly altered to suit the proportions of the picture.
Dali also drew inspiration from 15th or 17th century artists who painted their pictures in a very real and moving way. He was keenly aware of an intensely Spanish artistic tradition, represented best by Velasquez and Zurbaran, whose figures seemed to portray a profound sense of the mystery between man and God.
Councillor George Redmond, Chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “The Iconic Christ of St John of the Cross is back home at Kelvingrove where hundreds of thousands of visitors will be able to enjoy it. There is no doubt this painting has been missed, but we have learned much about the significance of it in Dali’s body of work. It has a new home in the museum and a new display which will reflect our greater knowledge of this masterpiece.”
Christ of St John of the Cross has been one of the star attractions at Kelvingrove since its £35million refurbishment was completed in 2006. Since then Kelvingrove has remained Scotland’s biggest free attraction.