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Author Topic: Church controversy over "genitalia" crucifix  (Read 3344 times)
AndyC
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2010, 10:02:57 AM »

BounceGiggle OK, coffee nearly came out my nose when I saw that picture. I was expecting something much more ambiguous and it caught me off guard. It seriously looks like a superhuman boner sticking up. But only an idiot or a paranoid puritan would think it was intended to be anything but poorly-rendered abs. And it does not appear to be a unique image. Maybe Dan Brown can base his next book on the centuries-old conspiracy to hide naughty bits in Catholic art.

Funny, I went to school with a guy who is currently one of the world's prominent religious artists. We're talking big bronze statues for city churches and public spaces. I used to talk to him periodically for the paper, and one of his favourite topics was the lack of good religious art in churches, and good public art in general. He kind of fancies himself a throwback to the Renaissance, when his kind of art was thriving.

I dropped in on him when he was making this clay original a few years back. It's called "One Body." Note the accurate proportion of the abs. TeddyR I forget how many identifiable saints and popes are in this ten-foot piece. Hundreds, I think. There's a diagram on his website.

http://www.sculpturebytps.com
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 10:16:05 PM by AndyC » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2010, 10:56:28 AM »

If I'm completly honest, I don't see it... Question
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2010, 05:14:30 PM »

Ya, I'm not entirely sure what to think it could just be that the artist has a bad knowledge of anatomy and painted some rather phallic looking abs, or it could be intentional. In either case its a really ugly painting, I've never understood why churches put up a bleeding emancipated man, on a cross for people to look at and worship. Its rather morbid when you think about it.
Personally I can understand why some people are offended by it, it really does look like a penis, intentional or not and if the painting is so bad that you can't tell if its his abs or if he's going out like the old guy in Clerics, then it probably needs to be fixed.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2010, 05:34:54 PM »

Ya, I'm not entirely sure what to think it could just be that the artist has a bad knowledge of anatomy and painted some rather phallic looking abs, or it could be intentional. In either case its a really ugly painting, I've never understood why churches put up a bleeding emancipated man, on a cross for people to look at and worship. Its rather morbid when you think about it.
Personally I can understand why some people are offended by it, it really does look like a penis, intentional or not and if the painting is so bad that you can't tell if its his abs or if he's going out like the old guy in Clerics, then it probably needs to be fixed.

The crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are a central point of Christian theology.  Christians don't worship the Cross itself, but rather the one who died there and sacrificed Himself for the sins of all humanity.  "Substitutionary atonement" is the formal theological term.  I do agree that the Jesus represented in much medieval art is a very emaciated, effeminate figure.  The real Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter and probably had broad shoulders and a bone-crushing handshake!

As regards the artwork that started this thread, the more I look at it, the more phallic the image seems.  If it was deliberately done, it's a slap in the face to the church.  If it was unintentional, the guy REALLY needs some classes in anatomical drawing.
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2010, 05:43:47 PM »

If I'm completly honest, I don't see it... Question

I'm such an idiot !!!!

I thought Andy's post was the topic starter !!!

Obviously I see it !
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2010, 06:34:02 PM »

The crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are a central point of Christian theology.  Christians don't worship the Cross itself, but rather the one who died there and sacrificed Himself for the sins of all humanity.  "Substitutionary atonement" is the formal theological term.  I do agree that the Jesus represented in much medieval art is a very emaciated, effeminate figure.  The real Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter and probably had broad shoulders and a bone-crushing handshake!
Yeh, that manly Jesus that you need to believe in... do you have any idea how starved most people were for most of human history (and still)? 

As regards the artwork that started this thread, the more I look at it, the more phallic the image seems.  If it was deliberately done, it's a slap in the face to the church.  If it was unintentional, the guy REALLY needs some classes in anatomical drawing.
The artist is a woman. 
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« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2010, 09:28:53 PM »


As regards the artwork that started this thread, the more I look at it, the more phallic the image seems.  If it was deliberately done, it's a slap in the face to the church.  If it was unintentional, the guy REALLY needs some classes in anatomical drawing.

I thought the point of the images AHD posted was to show that the artist was following in a long (possibly centuries old) tradition of ab iconography, not coming up with her own interpretation.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2010, 11:07:28 PM »

John, you forget I am a historian.  Yes, Jesus was a real historical character and, as you point out, very human. I don't NEED to believe in a "manly" Jesus, I simply deduce that is probably what He was.  I doubt you could  make a living as a carpenter and itinerant preacher in such a rough and tumble, patriarchal society as the 1st century  Roman empire, even in a backwater like Judea, without having a tough physique - maybe not bulked up, but certainly wiry and strong to say the least.

And I am so sorry, I did not look at the artist's name and didn't realize she was female. 

And yes, I can see the similar outlines on the earlier posted works, but I think the phallic imagery on this one was so grotesquely exaggerated that it almost had to be deliberate.  How could anyone NOT see that?
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2010, 12:35:10 AM »

I thought the point of the images AHD posted was to show that the artist was following in a long (possibly centuries old) tradition of ab iconography, not coming up with her own interpretation.
That's right.  

John, you forget I am a historian.
Hey, first of all, my name is personal information not for you to peddle (or should I say piddle) on the web.  Secondly, I don't "forget" that you are a historian (or claim to be).  I state that last with doubt because you routinely demonstrate how your personal filters are firmly battened down without regard to objective analysis.  

Yes, Jesus was a real historical character and, as you point out, very human. I don't NEED to believe in a "manly" Jesus, I simply deduce that is probably what He was.  I doubt you could  make a living as a carpenter and itinerant preacher in such a rough and tumble, patriarchal society as the 1st century  Roman empire, even in a backwater like Judea, without having a tough physique - maybe not bulked up, but certainly wiry and strong to say the least.
Perhaps Jesus was underfed, sickly, exhausted, scrawny and mistreated.  You might be surprised how resilient a skinny person can be.  You don't know, nor do I.  Jesus spent 3 years living off of the auspices of those He preached to.  You think He was "broad shouldered," with that all-American "bone-crushing" handshake?   Lookingup  Even He warned His closest followers: "I send you as sheep among wolves."

And I am so sorry, I did not look at the artist's name and didn't realize she was female.
So read the article before jumping in with commentary.   Smile  

Don't mind me, Indiana (the only name by which I know you) but your Jesus is a flag-waving, gun-totin', bone-crushin' Rambo that is alien to me.  I am determined to help you understand that you must not expect anything from any God you worship.  Nothing.  If you do expect, you miss the point of your faith.  Christianity is about sacrifice first.  
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 12:40:43 AM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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indianasmith
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2010, 06:14:17 AM »

I didn't mean to offend you by using your name, AH.

I simply don't understand why you find my thoughts about Christ so inherently offensive.  I take the Jesus of the Gospels at face value, no more, no less.  Every carpenter I've ever known has been a physically strong man.  Weaklings simply didn't last long back then.  But I am sincerely sorry that I offended you.

My name is Lewis, BTW.  I am not offended if anyone uses it.
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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2010, 09:26:02 AM »

I thought the point of the images AHD posted was to show that the artist was following in a long (possibly centuries old) tradition of ab iconography, not coming up with her own interpretation.

Same here. It looks like an exceptionally poorly-rendered copy of a copy of a copy of a crudely-rendered image that has become venerated as the accepted/expected image through repetiton over time.  It happens.  Tradition and familiarity makes it the 'stock' image - an 'icon' in every sense.  Wink

Perhaps she was trying to modernise/improve the image by emphasising the '3-D' effect and erred disastrously.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 09:29:34 AM by Newt » Logged

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AndyC
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2010, 09:28:43 AM »

I didn't mean to offend you by using your name, AH.

I simply don't understand why you find my thoughts about Christ so inherently offensive.  I take the Jesus of the Gospels at face value, no more, no less.  Every carpenter I've ever known has been a physically strong man.  Weaklings simply didn't last long back then.  But I am sincerely sorry that I offended you.

My name is Lewis, BTW.  I am not offended if anyone uses it.

If I'm reading him right, I think AHD is suggesting that we should not be too quick to define a deity according to our own values and expectations, which is exactly what those European artists did by painting Jesus as soft, effeminate and Caucasian, as opposed to a Jew who has spent over 30 years doing hard work in a harsh environment. He's divine, so he has to be clean and pure and beautiful and just like us. In that regard, I agree with you, except that you are, indeed, doing the same thing from your own perspective, making a pacifist John Wayne out of him. The lesson is right in the scriptures - the Jews themselves expected a warrior king to defeat their enemies, and they got a baby who grew up to preach tolerance, then surrendered without a fight. Jesus challenged the religious establishment of his time, and yet his most devout followers seem to think Christianity is about toeing the line and not questioning, rather than seeking enlightenment.

Myself, I think what is slowly killing religion in general is that it has traditionally been more about clinging to our preconceived ideas than it is about seeking truth. I don't believe there is any way we can possibly understand what God is like, and we never will if we insist on projecting our own values onto him/her/it. My 75-year-old mom is one of those people who thinks the Bible is a perfectly accurate account, and every story happened exactly as told. When I found that I couldn't accept it on those terms, I stayed away from church for about a decade and a half, until I came to understand that I didn't have to.

As an amateur paleontologist, I'm sure you can appreciate how ridiculous it is that some people will emphatically deny that dinosaurs existed because they'd rather believe the bones were left by God as a practical joke than accept that the creation story is not a literal account. To me, the process of evolution is far more miraculous than the idea that everything was assembled exactly as it is in a week. Would you not agree?

Religion has got to grow with us, or we're going to leave it behind, and that would be a tragedy. The first step is setting our own expectations aside and remaining open-minded.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 09:35:59 AM by AndyC » Logged

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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2010, 10:44:26 AM »

I didn't mean to offend you by using your name, AH.
Not offended... just making a point.  I do appreciate you, though sometimes I think you be thilly.   Wink  

I simply don't understand why you find my thoughts about Christ so inherently offensive.  I take the Jesus of the Gospels at face value, no more, no less.  Every carpenter I've ever known has been a physically strong man.  Weaklings simply didn't last long back then.  But I am sincerely sorry that I offended you.
My name is Lewis, BTW.  I am not offended if anyone uses it.
You're always thinking you're offending me, and you never do.  I'm just a candid and direct debater.  (Some people might put "master" in front of that instead of "duh".)  TongueOut  
Every carpenter you've ever known?  (And mebbe had a platonic not-gay love fer?  Wink)  Y'mean in privileged well-fed America?   Twirling 

... making a pacifist John Wayne out of him...
BounceGiggle Great.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 10:49:06 AM by Allhallowsday » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2010, 05:40:31 PM »

I was prepared to come home mad at you, AHD, but you have totally disarmed me . . . again!

You are my favorite gadfly.



The picture still looks like an enormous dong.
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2010, 07:31:13 AM »



The crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are a central point of Christian theology.  Christians don't worship the Cross itself, but rather the one who died there and sacrificed Himself for the sins of all humanity.  "Substitutionary atonement" is the formal theological term.  I do agree that the Jesus represented in much medieval art is a very emaciated, effeminate figure.  The real Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter and probably had broad shoulders and a bone-crushing handshake!

As regards the artwork that started this thread, the more I look at it, the more phallic the image seems.  If it was deliberately done, it's a slap in the face to the church.  If it was unintentional, the guy REALLY needs some classes in anatomical drawing.
[/quote]
Ya I remember that from bible school, still doesn't make the image of a bleeding, starving man any more soul inspiring. Its like that figure of Jesus in Carrie, it's just a creepy image.
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