An iconic panting by Salvador Dali is to get an International showing when it goes on display in Bishop Auckland after being loaned out by Glasgow Life Museums.
Christ of St John of the Cross will be on display at The Auckland Project's Spanish Gallery in County Durham from 9 July alongside El Greco's Christ on the Cross, uniting two Spanish masterpieces.
The exhibition Dalí / El Greco will celebrate two of the most original and idiosyncratic painters in the history of art and compare their reinvention of the enduring subject of Christ on the Cross.
However that is where the similarities end, with each artist offering deeply contrasting perspectives on the theme. El Greco depicts Christ as a real, living man - the vivid blood and pallid face, the use of exaggerated form, and the dramatic contrasts of light speak to an experience of anguish. His painting forces the viewer to come face to face with Christ’s suffering.
Dalí in contrast presents a beautiful but anonymous figure viewed from on high, emphasising his role as the Son of God and the magnitude of the sacrifice witnessed. Dalí said: “I want to paint a Christ that is a painting with more beauty and joy than has ever been painted before.”
Dalí / El Greco will be the first temporary exhibition in The Spanish Gallery, the first gallery in the UK dedicated to the art, history and culture of the Spanish Golden Age. The Gallery, which focuses on art of the 16th and 17th centuries, explores the universal themes of the transience of life and its battle with the desire for eternity.
Dalí’s Christ of St John of the Cross was last loaned to a UK institution in 2017, visiting London's Royal Academy. It has never been on display in the North East of England before.
Former director of Glasgow Museums Dr. Tom Honeyman, who acquired the work on behalf of the Duncan Dornan, Glasgow Life’s Head of Museums and Collections, said: “Displaying this treasured painting in a new way enables us to widen our understanding of the incredible artist, Salvador Dalí who painted this iconic artwork, which remains a favourite with Glaswegians and visitors to the city. It will go back on show at Kelvingrove early in 2023.”
Glasgow’s art collection is considered one of the finest in Europe and loaning key pieces allows people across the UK to access and enjoy them, bolstering our reputation. These partnerships also allow visitors to Glasgow Life Museums to enjoy beautiful artworks from other important collections.”