A famous painting by renowned artist Salvador Dalí is set to “return home” for the first time in 70 years, on loan from Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum.
Purchased by Glasgow Council for £8,200 in 1952, Dalí’s Christ of St John of The Cross is regarded as one of Scotland’s most treasured paintings, valued at more that £60m.
It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen.
While it is a depiction of the crucifixion, the painting is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns – according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ.
“It’s probably one of the city’s most iconic work of art, and the most famous work of art internationally,” Duncan Dornan, head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life told STV News.
“It’s hugely difficult to quote that [how many come to see the painting annually, because the city has an amazing collection and people who come usually look at the whole thing.
“But we know that almost 50% of tourists come to Glasgow expressly to visit a museum or a gallery and the Dalí is a major part of that in driving tourism, and ultimately investment into the city.”
Now, the painting is set to leave Glasgow and “return home” for the first time since it was purchased more than 70 years.
The iconic artwork is going on loan to the Dali Theatre-Museum in the artists hometown of Figueres, Spain for five months.
Mr Dornan added: “Although we rarely lend this work, we do feel this is a really great opportunity to connect with other people and to increase our understanding of this particular work by Dalí.”
Christ of St John of The Cross was last exhibited in Spain in 1952, when it was shown in Madrid and Barcelona, shortly before being acquired for Glasgow.
Glasgow Life Museums said the loan to Figueres is an important opportunity to be part of a significant exhibition exploring the work of Dali and the creative process behind this iconic painting.