Catholic fine - Our Lady of Port Iglat (Salvador Dali)

Christ Child & Madonna by Dali (1950)

Salvador Dali depicted Jesus Christ in a host of ways – but the gorgeous young auburn-haired Christ child in the center of the Madonna in The Madonna of Port Lligat of 1950 simply lifts me three feet off the ground! Framed by the square hole that suggests the spirituality and transcendence of the mystical-atomic-religious scene, the young Christ child is the embodiment of beauty, youth, vitality and salvation. One of Salvador Dali’s most stunning, yet seldom considered, portraits! A detail of the large masterwork appears below.” - Paul Chimera, Dali Historian

At the heart of the Madonna is Christ… and at the heart of Christ is Bread. Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

His right hand is over a blue ball hanging in space - perhaps a globe representing the world - and his left hand is over a book - perhaps the Word of God written, receiving the human touch of the Living Word of God.

Dali wrote about the “tabernacle cut from the chest of the infant Jesus, containing Eucharistic bread inside.” And the infant Jesus is likewise resting in a “tabernacle” within Mary. For more of Dali’s thoughts about this painting, see the final paragraph in this blog post.

Take special note of the space formed between the Madonna’s thumbs, which becomes a cross. (I got this insight from this webpage:

The Madonna of Port Lligat is the name of TWO paintings by Salvador Dalí. The first was created in 1949, measuring 49 x 37.5 centimetres (19.3 x 14.8 in), and is housed in the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Dalí submitted it to Pope Pius XII for approval, which was granted. Dali created a second painting in 1950 with the same title and same themes, with various poses and details changed, measuring 144 x 96 centimetres (57.7 x 37.8 in); As of 2008, the 1950 Madonna is exhibited at the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan.

The paintings depict a seated Madonna (posed by Dalí’s wife, Gala) with the infant Christ on her lap. Both figures have rectangular holes cut into their torsos, suggestive of their transcendent status. In the 1950 version Christ has bread at the center of his figure. They are posed in a landscape, with a view of Port Lligat, Catalonia seashore in the background, with surrealist details, including nails, fish, seashells, and an egg. The 1949 Madonna has a sea urchin; the 1950 Madonna has a rhinoceros and figures of angels, also posed by Gala.