christ of saint john of cross

Above: Salvador Dalí painting St. John of the Cross

Photo: Daniel Farson



From Wiki: “Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns, because, according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle evident in the painting was revealed to him.

The painting is known as the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the "three” but in the four, merry they be.

On the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained its inspiration: “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the 'nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it 'the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!” In order to create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle and also envisage the pull of gravity on the human body. The depicted body of water is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí’s residence at the time of the painting.“ (via: wiki)



Above: A preparatory drawing for Christ of St. John of the Cross (Christ On The Cross From Top Perspective)






Above: The sketch that inspired Dalí. Crucifixion by St. John of the Cross, c. 1550

Saint John of the Cross had a vision while praying. The vision led to the drawing of Christ from above.

Saint John of the Cross (born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez) (1542– 14 December 1591) was a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar.





Above: Dali painting St. John of the Cross - Photo: by Daniel Farson



Christ of St. John of the Cross, 1951, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow - Salvador Dali



In a dark night
With longings kindled in love
oh blessed chance
I went forth without being observed
My house already being at rest

Through darkness and secure
By the secret ladder disguised
oh blessed chance
Through darkness and in concealment
My house already being at rest

In the blessed night
In secret that none saw me
Nor I beheld aught
Without any other light or guide
Save that which was burning in the heart

That which guided me
More sure than the light of noonday
Where he was awaiting me
Him whom I knew well
In a place where no one appeared

Oh thou night that guided
Oh lovely night moreso than the dawn
Oh thou night that joined
Lover with beloved
Beloved in the lover transformed

Upon my flowery breast
Which I kept whole for himself alone
There he stayed sleeping
and I was caressing him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze

The breeze from the turret
While I was parting his locks
With his gentle hand
He was wounding my neck
And causing all my senses to be suspended

I remained myself and forgot myself
My face reclined on the lover
All ceased and I abandoned myself
Leaving my concern
forgotten among the lilies.

—  Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross.

Fra Angelico, Christ on the Cross, the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, and Cardinal Torquemada, 1453-4. 

“I am father, saith Christ,
I am brother, I am bridegroom,
I am dwelling place, I am food, I am raiment,
I am root, I am foundation: all whatsoever thou desirest, I am.
Be thou in need of nothing.
I will be even a servant,
for I came to minister, not to be ministered unto;
I am friend, and member, and head,
and brother, and sister, and mother;
I am all, only cling thou closely to Me.
I was poor for thee, and a wanderer for thee,
on the cross for thee, in the tomb for thee;
above, I intercede for thee;
on earth, I am come for thy sake
an ambassador from My father.
Thou art all things to Me:
brother, and joint heir, and friend, and member.
What more do you want?”

~St John Chrysostom

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The Wilton Dyptich (1395-99), with the earliest lively portrait of an English King, Richard II of Plantagenet, Edward’s of Woodstock son, heir to Edward III. Richard, kneeling, is introduced to the Virgin Mary and Christ (who blesses the Plantagenet) by three saints, John the Baptist, Saint Edward the Confessor and Saint Edmund the Martyr of East Anglia. In the outer side there are two different images, one is the heraldry of the King, that of England (fleurs de lys and rampant lions) impaled with the invented one of Edward the Confessor (a cross and nithingales); the other is the King’s emblem, a white hart, gorged by a crown.

Richard magnificent robes are embroidered with harts and rosemaries, and he wears a necklace with plante de genis (which gave name to the dinasty, as Godfrey of Anjou used to put plante de genis on his helmet and hats), and a livery badge with the white hart.

Richard II was dethroned by his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke, duke of Lancaster, who was crowned as Henry IV in 1399. A year later, 1400, Richard was murdered.