Huge public interest in the exhibition “Dalì's Christ in Rome” at San Marcello al Corso

03 June 2024

The exhibition at the Rome Church of San Marcello al Corso entitled “Dalì's Christ in Rome”, has proved a huge success with the public. It is the third exhibition of “The Heavens Opened” series, part of the cultural journey towards the Holy Year.


In the first 20 days of the exhibition there were more than 137,000 visitors, attracted by the charm of Salvador Dalì's work “Christ of Saint John of the Cross”, (also known as “The Christ of Portlligat”, 1951, oil on canvas, cm 204.8 x 115.9) which is on loan from its Scottish home at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, and the “relic drawing of the Crucified Christ” (ink on paper, 57 x 47 mm, 1542-1591) sketched by Saint John of the Cross, who according to tradition drew the image after a mystical vision. The work is normally housed in the saint's reliquary at the Monasterio de la Encarnación in Ávila, Spain.


The theme of Christian Hope, which Salvador Dalì's painting conveys, makes it particularly suitable in the context of the Jubilee. Hope emerges first of all from Christ, who is portrayed floating in the darkness, seen from above, as if the spectator is viewing him with the eyes of the Father, for the redemption of a world which, immediately below, seems to have found a luminous harbor of salvation.


Dalì, a spiritually restless artist, who was certain of the existence of God and fascinated by the beauty of Christ, certainly cannot be considered a prototype of traditional catholicity, but he remains an emblematic figure of 20th-century man, almost our contemporary, who was filled with a powerful nostalgia for God. The choice of the church of San Marcello al Corso as the venue for the exhibition is not accidental, but rather is linked to the history and meaning of the revered Crucifix which is kept there. This connection between Dali's work and the historic Crucifix at San Marcello offers a unique opportunity for reflection and prayer.


The exhibition of the famous painting “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” marks the third art and faith event of the “The Jubilee is culture” series. It follows “El Greco in Rome”, which ran between September and October 2023 in Sant' Agnese in Agone, and the “100 Nativity Scenes in the Vatican” exhibition, which took place in December 2023 and January 2024.


The exhibition can be visited for free until 23 June 2024.