Salvador Dali’s masterpiece will be displayed at the Spanish Gallery

Salvador Dali's masterpiece to be displayed at the Spanish Gallery (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Salvador Dali’s masterpiece to be displayed at the Spanish Gallery (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

A masterpiece by Salvador Dali on loan to the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland will help tell the story of the Spanish Golden Age during its five-month installation.

The artwork titled Christ of St John of the Cross has been transported to its temporary home in County Durham and will be displayed alongside El Greco’s Christ on the Cross – uniting the two Spanish masterpieces.

El Greco portrays Christ as a living man with the dramatic contrasts of light speaking to an experience of anguish, forcing the viewer to come face to face with the suffering of Christ.

Dr Jo Meacock curator of the Glasgow Art Museum and Morlin Ellis, curator of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Dr Jo Meacock curator of the Glasgow Art Museum and Morlin Ellis, curator of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

While Dali presents a beautiful but anonymous figure seen from above, emphasizing his role as the Son of God and the magnitude of his sacrifice.

Auckland Project founder Jonathan Ruffer thanked the “wonderfully generous” Glasgow Life Museum for lending the painting, adding that “mere words of thanks really aren’t enough”.

He told the PA news agency: “I’ve always been a big believer in the power of incongruity and one of the reasons we have a Spanish gallery is how unlikely it is that such a thing exists.

“Having a photo as important as Dali’s is really a wonderful thing.

“The Spanish Gallery is about the Spanish Golden Age, which really started in earnest from the 1590s and was completed probably 70 or 80 years after that.

Christ of Saint John of the Cross (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Christ of Saint John of the Cross (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

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“We’re telling a story and Dali’s photo really helps us tell that story. The crucifixion is probably the most painted of all religious images in the world.

“The death of Christ was a really central thing in the 1600s and here we have someone painting a picture that in the 1950s was a very old-fashioned thing to do, and almost unique in doing so with the sense of realism that Dali brought to bear. to that, it begs the question of what this photo is and if you put it up next to El Greco, whose crucifixion photos are extraordinarily powerful, it asks what you see when you look at these things.

“It’s no longer just about the two pictures in front of you, it’s about you, what you see when you look.”

The masterpiece arrived on Tuesday ahead of its public exhibition at the gallery from July 9 to December 4.

Speaking about seeing the masterpiece for the first time, Ruffer added: “It’s bigger than you think, we’re used to seeing it on a postcard.

“I went on holiday to Croatia three or four years ago and on the main street there was a tattoo shop and you could choose from 15 different things to tattoo, one of them was Dali’s crucifixion, how about this one for fame.”

The Spanish Gallery is the first gallery in the UK dedicated to the art, history and culture of Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries and was officially opened by the Queen of Spain.

Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life, said: “Displaying this precious painting in a new way allows us to broaden our understanding of the incredible artist, Salvador Dali, who painted this iconic work of art, which remains a local favorite. from Glasgow and visitors to the city.

“Glasgow’s art collection is considered one of the best in Europe and the loan of key pieces allows people across the country to access and appreciate them, reinforcing our reputation.”

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