Two Spanish masterpieces come together side by side in Bishop Auckland


ONE of the most famous paintings of the 20th century has been exhibited in Bishop Auckland.

Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali’s work shows Christ hanging painfully from the cross.

It is on loan to the Spanish Gallery in the Market Place until December 4 and is deliberately positioned next to a version of the same scene by El Greco, another renowned Spanish artist, which was painted 350 years earlier. early.

“This generous loan gives us the opportunity to put the same picture of today’s world with that of the past and ask the question: are they really paintings of the same thing?” said Jonathan Ruffer, the founder of the Auckland Project which uses the city’s religious history to ensure future economic regeneration.

Dali had a Hollywood stuntman suspended from a gantry so he could study how the body would hang, pulled down by gravity, as he painted in 1951 at his home in Catalonia, Spain. By giving the bird’s eye view of the body, the viewer can feel how painfully the crucifixion pulled on the body.

Dali said of his work, “I want to paint a Christ that is a painting with more beauty and joy than ever before.”

The year after the work was completed, it was controversially purchased by the Glasgow Corporation to go to its Kelvingrove Gallery, where it has hung ever since. Even its critics agree that it is the best depiction of the 20th century scene, and in 2006 it was voted Scotland’s favorite painting.

El Greco’s Christ on the Cross was painted around 1600 in Spain, and the artist offers the viewer a full frontal approach to come face to face with the suffering of Christ. This is the first time in more than 200 years that the work has been exhibited to the public because it belongs to a private owner.

In contrast, Dalí’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross is still on public display, but it has never been seen before in the Northeast.

Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life, said: “Presenting our treasured painting in this new way allows us to broaden our understanding of the incredible artist who painted this iconic work, which remains one of favorites of Glasgow residents and visitors to the city. ”


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