Well, my prior understanding was that the viewer was above (kind of Like the Father's viewpoint of the Crucifixion in "The Passion of the Christ" movie). I knew the bottom of the cross was angled back, but I thought it in keeping with the curvature of the earth (Aarrgggh- don't want that argument right now!). I didn't realize that this perspective would be a face-down, horizontal Christ to those on the earth.
I'm glad I posted, I'm getting rid of it. I guess I sensed it for a while anyway, but I needed new eyes to see it for me.
Sorry for not understanding your impression, but it never once occurred to me, even when I first saw this Dali painting over 40 years ago, that the cross was standing from a base buried in the ground. The sky and clouds depicted all behind the base clearly told me from the very first instant, that this cross was being presented as one floating in the sky and not whatsoever attached to the earth. And I've never met anyone else who had any other impression. For crying out loud, you can even see sunrays coming down from the clouds which means the sun must be high above them.
So you caught me entirely blind-sided. I had no idea that anyone could ever think this was a view looking downward to the earth, because there is no sky or clouds on the ground when viewed from above. This cross has always appeared to me as floating in the air horizontally (instead of upright) with gravity pulling the corpus (and hair) downward -- even though the trunk region is mysteriously attached to the cross, which is not something I have any inclination to hypothesize or speculate on. Perhaps a Sodomite would feel otherwise. I have no idea. Nor do I care.
The lighting is a puzzle, too. From the shadowing on the cross one sees the sun (or whatever it is that shines light) is to the right, and must be BELOW the level of the cross, since the left shoulder casts a shadow upward to the crossbeam.
HOWEVER, keeping in mind that direction to the light source (presuming it ought to be the sun but that might be too much presumption!), look at the clouds in the distance seen under or behind the base of the cross. If I wanted to depict clouds in the sky illumined by a sun that is located in the distance and direction indicated by the shadows on the cross, I would not show these clouds looking like that. These clouds give me the impression that the sun is high ABOVE these clouds and shining DOWN on them, much like the clearing clouds after a storm appear at mid-day. The clouds' highlights are above
and the clouds' shadows are below
, which are quite contrary to the shadows on the cross. So Dali wasn't making a mistake
. He was trying to give the viewer a CONFLICT of perception, such that what is normal would be all turned around, and what we should expect to see is instead refuted, abrogated, denied. He wants to uproot you from your normal world and insert you into an entirely alien way of thinking. That would be an achievement for him, the artist, leading you to an entirely unexpected perception of something
or better yet, EVERYTHING
It is a painting that depicts the refusal to accept the normal, established, traditional view of the world or, in this case, of the Crucifixion of Our Lord. It tells you to uproot all your preconceptions and set foot into a new reality that gives you an outlook you have never before imagined. Any Sodomite would be delighted! And that is supposed to be somehow desirable?
Even after all that, there's still the missing nails
(means it's not a crucifix because the nails are a necessity) and no INRI
.But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema
(Galatians 1:8 ).