Beyond the most classical interpretations of images such as The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and The Pieta by Michelangelo, Christians have likely most popularized the absolutely powerful images by Salvador Dali, The Crucifixion, Christ of St. John of the Cross and the Sacrament of the Last Supper.
Many Christians are inspired, warmed and in some ways experience a sort of conversion by viewing these works of art. The paintings have become iconic in their interpretations and are known as some of the greatest religious paintings of the contemporary world. This is a convincing argument for art speaking for itself, without context. One can be completely ignorant of the antics and disturbing ‘reality’ of the artist in the day. There has been great speculation and discussion about the sincerity of his later conversion to the Catholic church (probably politically convenient for the time). There are detailed autobiographical records of Dali’s dreams and fantasies captured in Andre Parinaud’s book, The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dali. These are both spectacular and disturbing. After reading this book, it was difficult for me to ever look at these religious icons, however beautiful technically and symbolically, in the same way.
I think that the following series of films really do justice to the background on the work, Christ of St. John of the Cross. I hope that my readers will take the time to view these.