Visions of Eternity,
Painted by Salvador Dalí (1904-1989),
Painted in 1936-1937,
Oil on canvas
© Alamy / Art Institute of Chicago, USA
That day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
Reflection on the painting
We come to the end of the liturgical year with a warning in today’s Gospel reading. We don’t know exactly when the Day of the Lord will come and when we will die, but we do know that that day will come when we will face God. So on this last day of the liturgical year the Gospel is telling us that the Lord has already come to some of the people that we know and that we lost over the past year. And during the next liturgical year, starting tomorrow, the Lord will also come to some who are still with us now. So the Gospel warns us that our earthly existence is fragile and only temporary. Therefore we should be more serious about all things eternal, rather than be preoccupied with temporal things.
As the new liturgical year begins tomorrow, it offers us again a full year the chance to get serious about all things eternal. Our painting by Salvador Dalí is titled Visions of Eternity. He painted this dream-like landscape rather empty and void. We see a starkly painted arched portico on the left with a disintegrating figure above. It is a rather depressing view of eternity, largely due to the fact that Dalí painted this during the Spanish Civil War, and times were desperate. Picasso painted his Guernica in the same year, expressing similar feelings of desolation and despair.
The desolation of this nearly featureless landscape gives this composition an overwhelming sense of infinitude. So the infinitude may be well captured here, but not the eternal life which Jesus talks about in our Gospel reading today… That life will be joyous, glorious and ever-lasting.
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Readings related to Luke 21:34-36
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Ojalá puedan poner en español la reflexión del cuadro, gracias.
Me encanta el cuadro y la infinitud…lo refleja muy bien…
Pero como pintar la eternidad…nuestro encuentro con Jesús…!!!
Dice que oremos incesantemente…pues, a por ello…
Did Jesus really say ‘like a trap’? I don’t like the think God sets traps for us, are there any other translations? Maybe I am supposed to feel uneasy though? Hope it isn’t today lol- too much to do, haha!
Well Grace, I think saying ‘unexpectedly’ would have the same meaning, don’t you think? It’s still sobering.
Today’s gospel reading is perhaps both a warning and an encouragement to remain faithful until the Lord’s return.
Appreciation of art is subjective. There is no objective definition of great art. There is only a large number of subjective agreements that an art/ist is great e.g. Michelangelo.
Working from that base I do not appreciate Salvador Dali although many do!
I love Dali- not all his work but he makes you think and often conveys a sense of timelessness and space to me, although Magritte did it better I think.
Agree,I like Dali a lot (and Magritte)
I think I could look at today’s painting in a gallery for a good long time.