Corpus Hypercubus: Your thoughts?


Has anyone seen Salvador Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus?

I find it very inspiring, although it is very mystical. My sister does not like it at all, but, I think I like it because to me it makes Christ seem cosmic and timeless, suspended between Heaven and Earth on the net of a hyperhube-cross. I think it makes the mystery of Christ very apparent. Anyone else like/dislike this image of our Lord? Not Dali, mind you, but this piece of art. We all know Dali had some problems. At least he became Catholic before he died.


Oh, I thought people would be interested… My threads always fail.


I went to art school for painting myself, I think it’s a great painting. I hate that in some circles bringing up a fondness for Dali is almost as cliche as saying you’re into Picasso because of his noteriety, but I am a fan. As a painting it is beautiful, another no-no word in art-speak. :rolleyes:


I like all of Dali’s religious paintings. Corpus Hypercubus, Christ of St. John of the Cross, The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and a number of others.

Catholics believe that the sacrifice of the cross transcends space and time, and the Corpus Hypercubus does a good job of portraying that, (as does The Sacrament of the Last Supper.)

A hypercube is the 4-dimensional analog to a 3-dimensional cube, with the image projected into 3 dimensions. The hypercubic cross represents the cross at center of history, projected into space and time, a one-time event that is yet present everywhere and everywhen.


You so elequently stated what I was trying to say. The timeless, cosmic sacrifice of Christ made eternally present in the transubstantiation of the Holy Eucharist… how profound. I would very much like to obtain a copy of this painting and hang it above my homeshrine around Corpus Christi.

As for the Vision of St. John of the Cross, I very much like that one too, although there is something very dark, almost horrifying about it. Christ is floating above a darkened world, suspended on the Cross. The Sacrament of the Last Supper is wonderful too, although it is one of my less favourites.

Has anyone seen his other work, Nuclear Cross?


Here are some links:

Corpus Hypercubus

Sacrament of the Last Supper

Christ of St. John of the Cross

The Atomic Cross

detail from the Madonna of Port Llilgat


I thought that it was entitled Nuclear Cross. What is your interpretation of it?

The *Madonna of Port Llilgat *is very, very unusual. It’s difficult to understand.


I’m not sure. The Atomic Cross was the title given by the website.

Here is the full picture of the Madonna of Port Lligat. Most Dali paintings are so large that it is hard to make out the details in smaller reproductions.

And here is The Discovery of America by Christpher Columbus, another large painting.

(Nearly all the women in Dali’s paintings are his wife.)


Ah, The Discovery… that is a very strange but beautiful painting. The figure with clouds swirling around Him, I interpret as being Christ. Crosses are issuing forth from Him, and I interpret this to represent the life-giving Gospel of the Church spreading over the globe. There is a large banner with the Madonna (modelled after Gala, of course) and I take this to be a reference to America’s dedication to the Immaculate Conception. Also, there are seemingly identical crucifixes in the coagulation on the right, and also down on the right side of the ship. Strangely, they are nearly also identical to the cross in Vision of St.John of the Cross. In the left corner, there seems to be a ghostly figure wearing vestments, probably a bishop, as suggested by the crozier.


I haven’t really been familiar with the Atomic Cross. It looks rather like the earth at the focal point of a hypercubic cross constructed of a number of cubes, and situated on an altar. Again it seems to make the cross the center of human history or even earth history.

I’m kind of doubtful that Dali himself would really be able to explain why these have the religious meaning they do, but they make a weird sort of sense to me.

T.S. Eliot once said something to the effect that it’s not particularly useful to ask an author for an interpretation of his own work, because after a point he becomes just another reader of it.

I do like the Madonna of Port Lligat. He has madonna with the child inside who is bread, holding the earth in one hand and the scripture in the other.


Yeah, that does make a lot of sense. Is this Madonna also modelled on Gala? Also, are there any other surrealists who dealt with religious subjects like Dali did?


I’m pretty sure the madonna would be modeled on Gala. I’m not really familiar with the other surrealists. There was a period of time when Dali reproductions were popular items in Catholic religious good stores. (Of course, they didn’t carry his painting of Mae West with the sofa lips!)


A priest gave me a prayer card of the Christ of St. John of the Cross. I always liked it. He asked a group of us what we noticed about it. You’d be suprised how many didn’t see there were no nails. :slight_smile:




Yes, or Shirley Temple, the Youngest, Most Sacred Monster in Contemporary Cinema! Or some of his other a… sexualized paintings.


How odd. Is this what St. John of the Cross said, or is it in fact, an interpretation by Dali? I wonder what it means?

In Corpus Hypercubus, the Holy Nails seem to have be trasmuted into cubes, and are floating around the area of Christ’s chest.


As a Secular Carmelite, I’d place the odds of it being St. John of the Cross’ idea at about 0% :smiley:

It always struck me as a very mystical interpretation, though.



I just took a look at St. John of the Cross’ sketch . . . nails, blood and agony are apparent. It would appear Dali’s intent was to take the suffering out of the Cross, perhaps?



I always thought that Dali had based his painting loosely on the St. John of the Cross sketch, but I’m not familiar with the sketch, and of course, John of the Cross was no surrealist!


Did St. John of the Cross see the crucifixion from the viewpoint shown in Dali’s painting, i.e., a giant monolithic Christ on the Cross suspended above a darkened Earth? I would very much like to see St.John’s sketch. I didn’t know he made one.


No, St. John didn’t show Christ suspended over the earth in the manner of Dali. The focus was strictly on Christ.

Dali’s viewpoint of Christ was from pretty much straight above, looking down. St. John’s was also from above, but more to the side. Also, St. John’s depiction was, well, much more human - nails, blood, agony. And how would I describe Dali’s? More mystical and transcendant, maybe.

You could probably google to find a picture of the sketch . . .


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