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Big-nosed Jesus and God as a second-rate Santa: the worst Christian art | Art and design | The Guardian

The middle aged balding infant Jesus

“… Instead, Kermani does something both refreshingly cheeky and philosophically instructive. As he wonders what Christian art says about Christianity, he meditates on works ranging from Old Masters (Leonardo, Caravaggio, Dürer) to the present day (Gerhard Richter’s stained-glass window recently installed in the great gothic cathedral of Cologne, with its colours randomly generated by computer).

Teasingly and sometimes caustically, his book teems with passages in which he looks with an outsider’s eye, wondering about the weirdness he sees. Did the Lazarus of Rembrandt’s painting really want Jesus to bring him back to life? Don’t Jesus and Mary, in El Greco’s Christ Taking Leave of His Mother, look like young lovers? Why do so many depictions of the crucifixion glorify pain?”

Source: Big-nosed Jesus and God as a second-rate Santa: the worst Christian art | Art and design | The Guardian

Hilarious 😀

 

 

18 comments on “Big-nosed Jesus and God as a second-rate Santa: the worst Christian art | Art and design | The Guardian

  1. Anony Mole
    December 13, 2017

    Here’s a question for ya: do people with longer noses have a better sense of smell? We know that there are more odor receptors in a long dog’s snout, does the same apply to humans? Do babies with tiny noses not detect odors as well as a long nosed old man?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. coteetcampagne
    December 13, 2017

    Excellent article. I remember, as a child, the first time I went into a Catholic church and being utterly revolted and disturbed by the bleeding hearts and utterly gruesome crucifixion scene statues and tableaux

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carl D'Agostino
    December 13, 2017

    The long nose is characteristic of the Byzantine period in all painting. Notice the baby Jesus looks like a small adult which was how children were depicted until other artists introduced painting of children more realistically by increasing the size of the head to the proportion of the body which is a child’s form with cherub like faces. . Comiso de Medici commissioned Gozzoli to paint himself in as won of the adorers of Christ in
    “The Procession of the Magi ” naturally in high ornate Florentine clothing to illustrate de Medici wealth and power in “Biblical” proportions. I think other de Medici family were painted in as part of the procession. It is all part of the anthropomorphism of the early church to Medieval times creating God and God themes in the image of man and same attributes given to God in Old Testament Hebrew thought.

    Liked by 4 people

    • coteetcampagne
      December 13, 2017

      Yes all the above is exactly right. The painting in of wealthy patrons was, of course , quite usual in royal, historical , classical and allegorical paintings also

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carl D'Agostino
      December 13, 2017

      Yes, but oooops. I wrote “won” instead of “one” in comment. Why is it after attentive proof read you catch the error as soon as you hit publish ? Well such is the case for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bela Johnson
    December 13, 2017

    Yes, I’ve seen many of these paintings in museum collections. So strange. Maybe the artist is trying to depict Jesus as everyman. Then again, maybe the artist was insane or had a mother complex 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. karenjane
    December 13, 2017

    An interesting article which I will read again at a more sensible time, almost midnight not being the best time for my tired brain to appreciate things. That ghastly nutwood figure will probably give me bad dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      December 14, 2017

      The book itself is a fantastic idea. It shows how culture-specific certain things are. In Spain the Nazarenes during holy week are a totally normal sight, in the American south, I imagine people might feel differently…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. acflory
    December 14, 2017

    Reading some of the comments here I realised that art can sometimes be a truer depiction of history than, well, history.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. MELewis
    December 14, 2017

    The funny thing for me is that however much I reject the religion, I still love all of the accompanying stuff: the art, the iconery, the churches…that old baby Jesus! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      December 14, 2017

      I’m the same. I love the theatre of religion and how emotionally charged the art is – even as a total atheist.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Helen Devries
    December 14, 2017

    If an artist’s main or only patron was the church either directly or indirectly, then religious art was what was produced, asnd religious art as required by the doctrine in favour at the time.
    In respect of culture specificity, I saw a procession while in Guatemala City.
    While the Immaculate Conception had a proper platform, complete with at least eighty sturdy chaps to carry it, the rest of the saints were pushed along on what looked like wheelie bins, nothing strange to local eyes, but for me it looked more like going to hell in a handcart.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve Ruis
    December 15, 2017

    Art is an expression of the artist. Michelangelo pained and sculpted historic figures with the faces of his sponsors for flattery of the man paying the bills and more. (He also ridiculed them to no end in the details.) Michelangelo, being gay, painted and sculpted women by using young male models and then slapping breasts upon them with slightly altered pubes. Did this make his women look strange? Absolutely, but Michelangelo was portraying beauty … as he saw it. So, one cannot always look at art and interpret it out of context.

    Did the baby Jesus look like a middle-aged man because the man sponsoring that painting happened to look just like that? Or was he mocking a local man for his pretensions? Or … ?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not as deep as you are Pink, I’m more shallow or maybe more practical, prolly both I guess. I can’t get enthused about any religious art outside of being in a Cathedral or Mosque. If I am inside of a Cathedral or Mosque I enjoy it, marvel at it, but religious art displayed outside a religious building doesn’t do anything for me.

    With some exceptions, like Michaelangelo’s David. I guess that is religious art but I don’t perceive it to be religious, I enjoy the sculpture without attributing any religious connotation to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      December 21, 2017

      Deep? Is that code for unhinged? 🙂

      Like

      • No, not unhinged. I really meant deep.
        See you go deep & think of existential questions not related to any political issue. I can go deep too, but there has to be a practical basis for me to question something, for me to dig deeper and ferret out a position based on facts/evidence. You question existential things just because you are curious. Not everybody does that Pinky.

        Like

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