Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Because One Thing Leads to Another... - The Ecumenical Council by Salvador Dali

The Ecumenical Council by Salvador Dali, 1960
Painting source
I logged on my home page today with the intention of checking my email. Instead I found that the featured work of art this morning was a painting by Salvador Dali. This explains the title of this post. Sometimes, I never know where God will lead me in finding items to share on this blog. The title and the beautiful colors of the painting immediately caught my eye. I had never saw or heard mention of this particular work of art until that moment.

According to a biography* of Salvador Dali, the above painting, The Ecumenical Council was begun in 1960. It was first in a series of what the writer of the biography described as "huge mythological paintings". It seems however, it may have been more spiritual in the faithful sense, than anything mythological.
... In the "Ecumenical Council," the important feature
demanding attention which strikes us is the spiritual theme or body of the Supreme Being, this embodied as a naked male, superseding all through the nebulous etheric haze, it emerges from a classical alcove of the Vatican, seat of Christianity for the Catholic. To the lower left of the Creator, the vague face of a saintly personage whose body is composed of a turmoil of crosses. To the right of the Creator, the face and figure of the Christ is all but lost in its diffusion, save but for the prominent figure of the dove; the Holy Spirit above it. Below,
the Ecumenical Council in small proportion, tiny, menial, humanistic, lost in methodical meaningless tradition confuse the thought, scattering it throughout and arises through the earthly planes of the mountains and water at the lower right foreground of the painting.

This painting celebrates the coronation of Pope John XXIII. Dali's choice of subject matter may be indicative of Dali's return to his Catholic roots in the 1940's.

Dalí's post-World War II period bore the hallmarks of technical virtuosity and an interest in optical illusions, science, and religion. He became an increasingly devout Catholic, while at the same time he had been inspired by the shock of Hiroshima and the dawning of the "atomic age". Therefore Dalí labeled this period "Nuclear Mysticism." In paintings such as "The Madonna of Port-Lligat" (first version) (1949) and "Corpus Hypercubus" (1954), Dalí sought to synthesize Christian iconography with images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics.[44] "Nuclear Mysticism" included such notable pieces as "La Gare de Perpignan" (1965) and "Hallucinogenic Toreador" (1968–70). In 1960, Dalí began work on the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and the main focus of his energy through 1974. He continued to make additions through the mid-1980s.

*The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dali by Meredith Etherington-Smith

To learn more about the painting, click here

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