Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Ascension

This picture combines two of Dali’s abiding interests of the 1950's: his obsession with a mystic form of Catholicism and his fascination with nuclear physics. 

The painting is dated 1958 and belongs to a series of images of Christ that came to Dalí in a dream in 1950. Inspired by the nucleus of an atom, the artist imagined Christ’s ascent unifying heaven and earth. The sunflower-like corona of the atom overlaps the divine sphere of the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the dove with outstretched wings. Though Christ’s body is recumbent, his hands rise tensely on either side. 

As was Dalí’s custom, he has positioned the figure of Christ so as to obscure his features. These are mirrored, however, by the portrait of Gala—the artist’s wife and muse—that hovers above the composition.

Salvador Dalí. The Ascension of Christ, 1958. Oil on canvas. Pérez Simón Collection.