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Dali Museum Visit Essay, Research Paper

Dali is an outstanding figure in art history, therefore I am greatly affected by numerous critiques of his works. It was hard to throw away read material and to look at his work with a ‘fresh eye’.

There are a few reasons why I chose “Crucifixion.” It is in permanent collection of Museum of Modern Arts (which, by the way, is almost free) and it’s not as popularized as The Persistence of Memory (1931), which is located in the Museum of Modern Art, and I think is the only other work by Dali in permanent collections in New York (please correct me if I’m wrong).

“Crucifixion” (1954) is a very ‘new’ painting, both philosophically and visually. At first this painting struck me by it’s content and awoke some negative or, should I say, insulted feelings in me few years ago. The image of Christ, countless times represented in certain tradition, suddenly was converted into a modern, hi-tech image. Six, instead of four ended cross, unexpectedly stretched in Z-axis (interestingly enough, the Christian Orthodox cross is six ended) is hanging in mid-air, with no support. Christ himself is not suffering, but resting in perfect (visual) health, in no way attached to the cross. The chess field above which this ‘concoction’ is floating for some reason made me think of image of Christ as being a pawn easily moved by anybody, because of total oblivion of substructure. As a contradiction of my self, I would like to note that in Crucifixion by Rogier van der Weyden, (around 1445) the floor of the cathedral is laid with checkers. Critics had a different opinion on philosophical content, which later calmed my offensive mood. As of purely visual impression, Dali managed to combine a very classical approach, (one point lighting from the left, dimmed background with landscape) with a very modern shape, clear lines, laconic detail and almost computer-age-like feeling. Brilliant, warm colors and soft transparency in the painting set a viewer in a positive, cozy mood (feeling of peace that everyone seeks in religion). The painting projects a completely silent ambiance.

Dali’s work always fascinated me, especially his fantasy, not talking about his draftsmanship


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