The iconic Salvador Dali painting Christ of St John of the Cross has returned to Glasgow after a successful loan to The High Museum in Atlanta. The painting, a highlight for the many hundreds of thousands who visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum each year, spent six months in America as the focal point of a major Dali retrospective.
It is the first time Christ of St John of the Cross has been sent out on loan since 1990 and the painting is due to return to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in March 2011, where it will be displayed in a new location. 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 1960's The painting was bought for Glasgow’s collection in the early 1950’s 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, a spokesman for Glasgow Life, said: “The Iconic Christ of St John of the Cross is back home in Glasgow and will soon be back 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. When it returns to Kelvingrove it will have 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 become Scotland’s biggest attraction and is the most visited museum in Britain outside London and is free.