Friday, March 31, 2006

Karl Barth and Salvador Dali

As means of introduction, I must say that both Karl Barth and Salvador Dali would be horrified if they knew I linked their names together. But, I like both for different reasons, so too bad. Now, you may ask yourself: where is this going? For me, it's all about the christological question. And, I think for both Karl Barth and Salvador Dali, it was about the christological question, too. For Barth (see CD II/1), the question of theology is the question of Christ; Christ is the means by which we ask the question of human history and God's action within human history. Theology centers itself around the christological question. For Dali's religious-based art, there is a on-going theme of the relationship betweeen christology and the cross. Notice, however, that Dali's Christ is polished, clean, and without clear facial features. I think this means that Dali's Christ speaks for humanity; the cleanliness, perhaps, (and I'm really stepping out on a branch here) represents the effect of the cross. For Barth and Dali, Christ represents the question posed to humanity; both respond in their unique way. Barth and Dali call us to respond to Christ, too. What does Barth's writing and Dali's painting evoke in you?


At 10:36 AM, Blogger David Williamson said...


I wonder if works of art will be rescued to appear in the new heaven and new earth and, if so, which ones they will be?

At 4:22 PM, Blogger e. said...

I just did a paper on a new theology of art and revelation (knowing God) and used some of Barth's ideas to bolster my opinion that humanly created works of art can, like the parables of Jesus, create experiences or "happenings" as individuals engage them. The "esoteric glimpse" of the kingdom of God contained in the work of art can be translated into revelation of God if the "hidden work of the Holy Spirit" activates one's faith.

All this to say: "God can use art works to reveal himself."

Surprisingly, in summarizing Barth's thoughts on other "tokens" (Barth's word for metaphors) besides the Bible that can be used to reveal God, Gabriel Fackre says, "(in Barth) Nothing is forbidden to God as an instrument of the divine Word."

I think you're right Dali is calling us to respond to Christ...and even if Dali isn't, his work can function to call us to respond anyway!


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