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Salvador Dali - Christ of St John of the Cross

The crucifixion depicted in Dali's painting is of the type normally expected to be seen above the high altar of a church, but it was in fact painted without any particular patron or owner in mind.

It is one of the most striking images of the central theme of the Christian faith - the death of Jesus Christ, by which all believers may be saved and enter Heaven. Christ is shown 'as beautiful as the God that He is', not contorted and in agony. The unusual view of the figure from above was inspired by a drawing by a 16th century Spanish Carmelite friar, St John of the Cross.

The coastal scene is Port Lligat, Dali's home town in Spain. The small figures are copied from paintings by Velazquez and Le Nain.

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