Dalì’s Christ of Gala: a metaphysical and philosophical point of view

By fabiogabetta

In my opinion, looking at this painting by Salvador Dali leads the viewer to wonder, to suspension of judgement and to a sort of epoché, in a deep meditative status. If at first glance what it seems to emerge is a latent religiosity of Dali, which sometimes manifests itself forcefully in this contradictory  painter who can be said precisely for this a very interesting man.

The Christ on the cross is suspended, soaring in the thin air; the face of Jesus is also not visible: the cross is not facing the viewer, it is not conceived for the contemplation of pain and suffering by the Savior. It is a Christ overturned, just as universal which contemplates the space and not mankind”s condition, a Christ who, as result of the excommunication taking place with the man because of his hidden vaulting, is in the direction with the eternal, with timelessness. The universal is closely connected with the dimension of eternal, timeless, devoid of physical size, when it is conceived in purely spatial, way: the painting is a portrait of this empty space, so essentially mystical and contemplative religious and for that very closely .

Christ is beyond man, beyond the world, than beyond the reality: his message is universal because it doesn’t compel – and does not apply – one’s individual. There is something in the image of the Savior which couldn’t  be utilitarian and which opposes itself to the concept of a selfish individuality which, in search of an ordinary personal contact, creates and reproduces a God-made: we refuse the idea of carrying the universal message in the sphere of space-time worldin in which the Savior dwells. This statement of a very narrow thinking is a pokey limit, and this perception must be completely overcome: utilitarianism, by contrast, shall be understood in a new spatiality, a conception given in a surrealist way, of course, at the time, however,it  assumes metaphysical boundaries , absolutely unreal. Christ is for all men, he is for the whole of creation, he resumes the whole universe and He is in what you find universal: perceptually such universality must be understood and made by an alienation of the observer, who did not really must divine the nature of this new space.

If space was understandable and communicable like human thoughts usually image it, the subsequent statement  is that the space corresponds to the confined space of our limited and inconsistent lives ,lives which can be drawn eas totally absurd. Instead, Jesus doesn’t look at us and prevents thus the meeting with our eyes, with our views and our space here because, first, we must conceive of the space so metaphysical and innovator. First, we can not forget the reference, in fact very weak, the sensible world, but is immediately emptied in the representation of Dali – and not otherwise: an expanse of sea, just visible in the same organization of space characterized by a line Horizon deliberately low, because physical space is not the object of interest of the painter. But for this simple sign-in horizontal space of our world once transcends space otherworldly, mystical, metaphysical and ineffable, so that, strictly speaking, I think even my words can not bring justice to what we perceive. There is a significant gap between perception and perception intelligible, mental space of the mind is capable of infinite and indeterminate about books, and it is only the cross the only element that gives determination to this perceptual organization with no real reference . To describe this otherworldly place, the words are not adequate: the cross is suspended, the suspension is the language and its power over things. Thus, the denial of the look is combined with the negation of the word, the logos, which mutes, with all its load of rationality, in the contemplation of what you can not see, because – as we already said – the gaze of Christ we are given.

Yet, I believe it is right that we must begin by lying sea, in order to understand the painting, despite apparent concreteness is the result of abstract thinking and rational at the same time: it’s really strange to assert that the denial of transit through the rationality fuller rationality, like us here, instead, we’re just saying. But this is a contradiction can be remedied by proposing a distinction between logos-word and logos-intuition, pure intelligibility, which does not need any explanation. Moreover, the denial of the gaze and speech can not be absolute, at least when we put on the painting, however, our eyes and our minds questioning. But what we perceive and describe a mystical is negative,which implements the understanding of subtraction, in-line, however, with the concept of Deus absconditus, the hidden God, who reveals, however, the little and the foolish.

Therefore, the expanse of sea is the mystical space of the survey, which also fluctuates in universal space and otherworldly: this side and beyond come together and mingle, because the wise and intelligent to the truth is not understood. God does not look to save the world, because the world is already saved, this is leading to the suggestion to the above outlined! Thus, the physical space of our everyday life is not real space, of our world: the logical categories are not all come, because the logic of God and man are incommensurable: “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts “(Isaiah 55:8). So, in this sea, an island emerges only, indeed, a rock, absolutely unreal and too metaphysical, since the color of the earth and the split in the front are offset, however, the rock being an allegory of the pyramid, the figures that pure geometric, thus giving the painting a tone abstract: the subject is not a practical reality, a real crucifixion, historically represented, while using a particular sensibility of the painter, but an abstract, pure geometric shape and spatial organization timeless and a priori. The sea is calm, quiet, elusive in the absence of motion, totally in a sea-descriptive, non-communicating. The pale sun that shines it’s going down there and, moreover, his appearance below the cross does nothing but confirm the suspension character of their work, in which Christ is a further, leading to an eternal self the entire universe, starting from the barge to the sea below, a portion of sea that is transforming to become a new color and new thing!

The cross is the center of the picture, although the proposition might confuse the eye with respect to this position. Of course, the support arms on which the hands – not drilled, not eroded by the pain of crucifixion, as they are devoid of the stigmata – are more than half of the painting, but the upper part of the cross itself, above the head, the exact borders with the midline of the work, bringing the metaphysical subject in the center of the eyes, lit by the pale sun so unusual, that not only illuminates the sea, but not even hit the underside of the instrument of martyrdom. The soft light of the star, in fact, it reverberates around the cross, making it even more suspended, but is no longer the star only at depths of the lamp, which, however, than to strike the portion of the sky below the wood crux, is deposited on the arms of Christ.

One last point, finally: Salvador Dali is conscious of its role – to play with – the savior of contemporary painting, thanks to the recovery of fees and interpreted appropriately Raphaelites, also, the Catholic mystic: this aspect should be considered in describing this painting. Jesus is definitely the Christ, the Savior of mankind and the bearer of a new horizon of life and spirituality, but at the same time, this Christ, dedicated to Gala, the companion and muse of Dali, is the painter himself, which, of course, does not intend to retire on the cross – would be blasphemous and contradictory to what he said about religion, art privileged path to recovery – although I still want to play these allegorical meanings, which go even further in undermining the painting and to produce new meanings in what he described with his brush.


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