For him, this image represented "The nucleus of an atom... the very unity of the universe, the Christ!"
This painting appeared to Dali in what he described as a “Cosmic Dream” — a vision of Christ hovering over the waters, held deeply within the formless and empty-darkness, poised above the world, devoid of his bloody nails and a crown of thorns.
Dali became a strong believer in the Catholic faith, fascinated with the connection between science and mysticism, mixing ideas of Christian religion with the exciting advances in nuclear physics and quantum mechanics: “Not a single philosophic, moral, aesthetic or biological discovery allows the denial of God.”
You usually associate him with surreal melting clocks, yet Dali painted this hyper-realistic yet ethereal work later into his career, at the birth of his “Nuclear Mysticism” period.
A man with a complex relationship to faith indeed.