Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, Figueres 1904–1989 Figueres)
Oil on canvas
76 1/2 x 48 3/4 in. (194.3 x 123.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of The Chester Dale Collection, 1955
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 913
Dalí utilized his theory of "nuclear mysticism," a fusion of Catholicism, mathematics, and science, to create this unusual interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion. Levitating before a hypercube—a geometric, multidimensional form—Christ’s body is healthy, athletic, and bears no signs of torture; the crown of thorns and nails are missing. The artist’s wife, Gala, poses as a devotional figure, witnessing Christ’s spiritual triumph over corporeal harm. Several dreamlike elements from Dali’s earlier Surrealist work feature in this painting: a levitating figure, vast barren landscape, and chessboard.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Salvador Dali
the artist (sold in 1954, through the Carstairs Gallery, New York, to Dale); Chester Dale, New York (1954–55; his gift to MMA)

Rome. Sale dell'Aurora Pallavicini. "Mostra di quadri, disegni ed oreficerie, Dalí," 1954, no. 4 (as "Corpus ipercubicus").

New York. Carstairs Gallery. "Dalí," December 1954–January 1955, no. 7 (as "Corpus hipercubus. [Based on the treatise on cubic form by Juan de Herrera, builder of the Escorial]").

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. "Salvador Dalí: Rétrospective 1920–1980," December 18, 1979–April 14, 1980, no. 318 (as "Crucifixion" or "Corpus hypercubicus").

London. Tate Gallery. "Salvador Dalí," May 14–June 29, 1980, no. 216 (as "Crucifixion" or "Corpus hypercubicus").

Tokyo. Isetan Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," February 28–April 6, 1982, no cat. number (as "Corpus Hypercubicus").

Daimaru Art Museum, Osaka. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," April 22–May 5, 1982, no cat. number.

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," May 8–June 6, 1982, no cat. number.

Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art. "Rétrospective Salvador Dalí," June 11–July 11, 1982, no. cat. number.

Barcelona. Palau Reial de Pedralbes. "400 obres de Salvador Dalí del 1914 al 1983," June 10–July 30, 1983, no. 355 (as "Crucifixió o Corpus Hipercubicus").

Mexico City. Museo Rufino Tamayo. "Dos Obras Maestras de Salvador Dali," March 12–April 20, 1986, unnum. brochure (as "Crucifixion").

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. "Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989," May 13–July 23, 1989, no. 251 (as "Corpus Hypercubus" or "Kreuzigung").

Spanish Pavilion, Seville World's Fair. "Treasures of Spanish Art," April 20–October 21, 1992, unnumbered cat. (p. 191).

St. Petersburg, Fla. Salvador Dalí Museum. "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)," March 13–September 4, 1994, unnum. brochure.

St. Petersburg, Fla. Salvador Dalí Museum. "Salvador Dalí: A Mythology," March 5–May 24, 1999, no. 50.

Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. "Dalí's Optical Illusions," January 21–March 26, 2000, no. 53 (as "Crucifixion [Corpus Hypercubicus]').

Washington, D. C. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. "Dalí's Optical Illusions," April 19–June 18, 2000, no. 53.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective," February 16–May 15, 2005, no. 225 (as "Crucifixion [Corpus Hypercubicus]").

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Salvador Dalí: La Gare de Perpignan—Pop, Op, Yes-yes, Pompier," March 18–June 25, 2006, no. 66 (as "Corpus hypercubus [Crucifixion]").

Roger Campion. "Passager de l' 'America': Salvador Dalí nous est revenu avec un christ 'Hypercubique' et un message pour Picasso." Le Havre Libre (March 30, 1953), p. 1, quotes the artist's statement upon arrival in the port of Le Havre on March 27, 1953 that he is planning a new painting of “an exploding Christ, nuclear and hypercubic” [see Ref. Taylor 2004] .

"! elO ! elO ! elO." Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) (April 1, 1953), p. 4B, quotes the artist's statement that this work "will be the big metaphysical work of my summer".

P. Festa Campanile. "Che ne pensate di Salvador Dalí?" La Fiera Letteraria (May 30, 1954), ill. p. 5 (detail).

Salvador Dalí. Io, Salvador Dalí. Rome, 1954, colorpl. 1 and ill. on front cover (color detail), calls it "Corpus Ipercubicus" and locates it in the collection of the artist.

Howard Devree. "About Art and Artists." New York Times (December 8, 1954), p. 32.

"Museum Acquires Its First Dali; 'Crucifixion' to Be Shown Today." New York Times (January 14, 1955), p. 23, ill., call it "The Crucifixion"; quote Chester Dale's description of being "bowled over" when he first saw this painting, his first purchase of a Dalí.

"Metropolitan Gets Its First Dali." Herald Tribune (January 14, 1955), ill., quotes the Met curator Theodore Rousseau Jr.'s explanation for his renaming this picture "The Crucifixion" because "it would make it easier to understand"; notes that Dalí based "the metaphysical concept of the work" on a treatise written by Juan de Herrera, a seventeenth-century Spanish architect; adds that the picture is on view in the Museum's Great Hall for six weeks.

Anne Kroll. "Letter to the Editor." New York Times (January 23, 1955), p. X15.

Frank O'Hara. "Salvador Dali." Art News 53 (January 1955), ill. p. 49.

"Dali Makes Met." Time 65 (January 24, 1955), p. 72, ill.

Walter Pach and A. Reynolds Morse. "Letters to the Editor. Dali: A No and a Yes." New York Times (February 6, 1955), p. X10.

Theodore Rousseau, Jr. "New Accessions of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (April 1956), p. 198, ill. p. 204, calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

Aline B. Saarinen. "New Regime at the National Gallery." New York Times (May 6, 1956), p. 30.

"The Private Treasures of Chester Dale." Vogue 128 (August 1956), p. 135, ill. (photograph of Chester Dale's apartment, New York, showing a reproduction of this work on display).

Michel Tapié. Dali. Paris, 1957, colorpl. XII.

Geoffrey T. Hellman. "Profiles: Custodian." New Yorker (October 25, 1958), pp. 52, 62, 64, 74, 77, quotes Chester Dale's account of purchasing this picture in order to give it to the Met.

A. Reynolds Morse. Dali: A Study of His Life and Work. Greenwich, Conn., 1958, p. 68, colorpl. XII.

John Canaday. "Dali for a Dollar." New York Times (May 29, 1960), p. X9.

Frank and, Dorothy Getlein, Bruce Publishing Company. Christianity in Modern Art. Milwaukee, 1961, pp. 78, 84, 86, fig. 35.

Robert Descharnes. The World of Salvador Dali. New York, 1962, pp. 184, 223, ill. p. 185 (color).

Max Gérard. Dalí de Draeger. [Paris], 1968, unpaginated, colorpl. 98, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Salvador Dalí. Dalí by Dalí. New York, 1970, ill. pp. 74–75 (color detail).

A. Reynolds Morse. Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904– ): Catalog of a Collection. Ninety-Three Oils 1917–1970. Cleveland, 1972, p. 180, no. 4, ill. p. 181, calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

A. Reynolds Morse. Salvador Dali, Spanish (1904– ): A Guide to His Works in Public Museums. Cleveland, 1973, ill. p. 24.

Max Gérard. Dali... Dali... Dali. New York, 1974, colorpl. 51.

Robert Descharnes. Salvador Dali. New York, 1976, pp. 46, 152, 154, colorpl. 45, notes that this picture was started in the spring of 1953, but not completed until 1954.

Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Dalí. New York, 1979, p. 135, ill. pp. 136–38 (color, overall and detail), 235, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Eleonora Bairati in Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Dalí. New York, 1979, p. 63.

Simon Wilson. Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1980, pp. 20, 30, no. 216, ill. n. p. (color).

Jean-Louis Ferrier. "Dali et la transcendance d'en bas." Hommage à Dali. Ed. Alain Jouffroy. Paris, 1980, pp. 50–51, ill., calls it "Corpus hypercubicus".

Robert Descharnes in Rétrospective Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1982, unpaginated, ill. (color) and front cover (color).

Albert Field in Rétrospective Salvador Dalí. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1982, unpaginated.

Dawn Ades. Dalí and Surrealism. New York, 1982, p. 178, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Ignacio Gómez de Liaño. Dalí. (1st ed., Barcelona, 1982). New York, 1984, p. 30, colorpl. 108, calls it "Crucifixion ('Hypercubic Body')".

Linda Dalrymple Henderson. "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion." Leonardo 17, no. 3 (1984), p. 208, notes that Dalí was influenced by the twelfth-century Catalonian mystic, Raimondo Lulio, as well as by the writings of Juan de Herrera, when he created this work.

Claire Pélissié. "Le Maniérisme et Salvador Dalí." L'Oeil no. 352 (November 1984), pp. 40–41, fig. 9 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

William S. Lieberman in 20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 2, Painting: 1945–1985. New York, 1986, pp. 6, 30–31, ill. (color, overall and detail).

William S. Lieberman. Dali. Exh. brochure, Museo Rufino Tamayo. Mexico City, [1986], unpaginated, ill. (color).

Jaume Socias Palau. "Fin y comienzo de Salvador Dali." Goya no. 208 (January–February 1989), p. 221, ill. p. 219 (installation photo, with the artist).

Karin v. Maur. Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989. Exh. cat., Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Stuttgart, 1989, pp. 328, 330, 496, no. 251, ill. p. 329 (color).

Carlton Lake. In Quest of Dalí. (1st ed., 1969). New York, 1990, pp. 27, 229–30.

Paul Moorhouse. Dalí. London, 1990, pp. 101–2, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Salvador Dalí. Diary of a Genius. Ed. Michel Déon. (1st ed., Paris, 1964). London, 1990, pp. 95, 100–102, 104–6, 108, 110, 112–16, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Edward Lucie–Smith in Salvador Dalí. Diary of a Genius. Ed. Michel Déon. London, 1990, p. 11.

Antonio Bonet Correa in Treasures of Spanish Art. Exh. cat., Spanish Pavilion, Seville World's Fair. [Barcelona], 1992, pp. 190–91, ill. (color).

Meredith Etherington-Smith. Dalí: A Biography. London, 1992, p. 391, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Harriet E. Brisson. "Visualization in Art and Science." Leonardo 25, no. 3/4 (1992), pp. 259, 262 n. 14, dates it 1955.

Thomas Banchoff and Davide P. Cervone. "Illustrating 'Beyond the Third Dimension'." Leonardo 25, no. 3/4 (1992), p. 280, fig. 14.

Jaime Brihuega. Miró y Dalí: Los grandes surrealistas. Madrid, 1993, p. 80, ill. (color).

James R. Mellow. "His Brother's Mustache." New York Times (December 19, 1993), p. BR 10.

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus). Exh. brochure, Salvador Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, Fla., 1994, unpaginated, ill. cover (color).

Robert Descharnes and Gilles Néret. Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989: The Paintings. Vol. 2, 1946–1989. Cologne, 1994, pp. 512, 552, 766, no. 1043, ill. p. 467 (color), call it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Ralf Schiebler. Dalí: Genius, Obsession and Lust. Munich, 1996, pp. 98, 127, ill. p. 96 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus".

Juan Antonio Ramírez in Dalí Arquitectura. Ed. Felix Fanés. Exh. cat., La Pedrera. Barcelona, 1996, p. 139, fig. 60.

Dawn Ades in Dalí's Optical Illusions. Ed. Dawn Ades. Exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Hartford, Conn., 2000, pp. 164–67, no. 53, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Alberto Marío Perrone. Salvador Dalí, escándalo, transgresión y genio. Buenos Aires, 2001, pp. 118–19, ill.

Gilles Néret. Salvador Dalí 1904–1989. Cologne, 2002, pp. 81, 96, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Robert Hughes. The Portable Dalí. New York, 2003, pp. 415, 419, ill. p. 299 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)".

Marco Di Capua. Salvador Dalí: Su Vida, Su Obra. (1st ed., Milan, 1994). Barcelona, 2003, pp. 227, 236–37, ill. (color), calls it "Corpus hypercubus".

Michael R. Taylor in Dawn Ades. Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice. London, 2004, pp. 368–71, no. 225, ill. (color, overall and detail), dates it 1953–54, noting that the artist began this painting in spring 1953, completing it the following year.

Dawn Ades. Dalí: The Centenary Retrospective. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice. London, 2004, p. 21.

Elliott H. King. "Winged Fantasy with Lead Feet: The Influence of Llullism and Hiparxiologi on Dalí's Mysticism." Persistence and Memory: New Critical Perspectives on Dalí at the Centennial. Ed. Hank Hine, William Jeffett, and Kelly Reynolds. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2004, pp. 190, 193 n. 19, fig. 6, calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

Enric Bou. Daliccionario: Objetos, mitos y símbolos de Salvador Dalí. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 96–98.

Salvador Dalí: Obra Completa. Vol. 8, Álbum. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 225, 227–29, fig. 319 (color).

Màrius Carol and Josep Playà. El enigma Dalí. Barcelona, 2004, pp. 76, 201, ill. between pp. 320 and 321 (color).

Alan Riding. "Unmasking a Surreal Egotist." New York Times (September 28, 2004), p. E6.

George Stolz. "The Great Late Salvador Dalí." Art News 104 (February 2005), p. 124, ill. (color).

William Jeffett in Dalí and the Spanish Baroque. Exh. cat., Salvador Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2007, pp. 51, 72–73, 77, 102, fig. 28 (color), calls it "The Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)".

Michael R. Taylor. "The Dalí Renaissance." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, pp. 9–10, 14, figs. 8 (installation photo, Exh. Philadelphia 2005) and ill. front cover (color detail), dates it 1953–54.

Jonathan Wallis. "Holy Toledo! Saint John of the Cross, Paranoiac-Critical Mysticism, and the Life and Work of Saint Dalí." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, p. 45.

David Lomas. "'Painting is dead—long live painting!' Notes on Dalí and Leonardo." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, pp. 167, 178.

Dawn Ades. "Reminiscences of Dalí: A Conversation with Amanda Lear and Ultra Violet." The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940. An International Symposium. Ed. Michael R. Taylor. Philadelphia, 2008, p. 209.

Frédérique Joseph-Lowery. Ray Johnson...Dali/Warhol and others, "Main Ray, Ducham, Openheim, Pikabia...". Exh. cat., Richard L. Feigen & Co. New York, 2009, pp. 9, 23, 28.

Elliott H. King in Salvador Dalí: The Late Work. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 2010, p. 30, fig. 18 (color), calls it "Corpus Hypercubicus".

William Jeffett. Dalí Doubled: From Surrealism to the Self. A New Critical View of Dalí. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2010, pp. 237, 249, 251–52, 320, fig. 150 (color), calls it "The Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" in the list of figures and "Corpus Hypercubus (Crucifixion)" in the essay.

Javier Pérez Segura. Scandal & Success. Picasso, Dalí y Miró en Estados Unidos (El Instituto Carnegie y otros relatos americanos). Madrid, 2012, p. 224, calls it "Christus Hypercubus (Corpus hypercubus)".

Catherine Grenier. Salvador Dalí: The Making of an Artist. Paris, 2012, p. 216, ill. p. 213 (color).

Kathryn Calley Galitz The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 528, ill. (color), colorpl. 462.

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