Salvador Dali - Ascension of Christ

What initially strikes you about this painting?

Where is Jesus coming from and moving towards?

What is the yellow circle?

Who is the person at the top?

Scripture: Luke 24:50-51

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God

The moment of ascension and afterwards are a joyful time of praise. How does that compare to the emotions that are expressed in the painting?

Is Jesus blessing the disciples in Dali’s rendition of this event? Why or why not?


The ascension is a moment when Jesus goes to be with God. When you think of your own ascension into heaven what does it look like?

“The Ascension of Christ,” was painted by surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The painting is dated 1958 and belongs to a series of images of Christ that came to Dalí in a dream in 1950. As was Dalí’s custom, he has positioned the figure of Christ so as to obscure his features.

This picture combines two of Dali’s abiding interests of the 1950s: his obsession with a mystic form of Catholicism and his fascination with nuclear
physics. Inspired by the nucleus of an atom, the artist imagined Christ’s ascent unifying heaven and earth. The sunflower-like corona of the atom overlaps the divine sphere of the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the dove with outstretched wings. Though Christ’s body is recumbent, his hands rise tensely on either side. These are mirrored, however, by the portrait of Gala—the artist’s wife and muse—that
hovers above the composition.