|Who is it?||Actress|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||205 cm × 116 cm (80.7 in × 45.67 in)|
|Location||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow|
The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s by Tom Honeyman, then the Director of Glasgow Museums. Honeyman bought the painting for £8,200, a price considered high at the time although it was less than the £12,000 catalogue price, and included the copyright, which has earned Glasgow Museums back the original cost many times over.
The painting first went on display at the city's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on 23 June 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands. It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display. In 1993, the painting was moved to the city's St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but returned to Kelvingrove for its reopening in July 2006. It won a poll to decide Scotland's favourite painting in 2006, with 29% of the vote.
This painting has continued to generate controversy. At the time of its purchase by Honeyman, the verdict by modern art critics was that producing such a traditional painting was a stunt by an Artist already famous for his surrealist art. In 2009 The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as "kitsch and lurid", but noted that the painting was "for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century."
In May 2013, in BBC Radio 4's Great Lives, British poet John Cooper Clarke described this image as being utterly different from any other image of the crucifixion, as the angle of view conveys the hanging pain of this method of execution, whilst hiding the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen in such depictions.
The painting is known as the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ's arms; the circle is formed by Christ's head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the "three" but in the four, merry they be.