Thursday, July 08, 2010

on craptastic art...

... "There is also the danger of attempting so to redraw and humanize the face of Christ that it may fit into the features of that "home." Many such humanizations and sentimental falsifications are to be found in so-called popular piety, and are expressed even in certain hymns. We must have the readiness to relinquish such all-too-human substitutes, however comfortable we may feel them. We must be filled with the desire to look into the unfalsified countenance of Christ as show[n] by the Church in her liturgy." [Transformation in Christ, New York, Image Books, 1963, p. 28]

From Anita Moore's post, Truth and Sentimentality.

10 comments:

Anita Moore said...

Whoops, thanks for pointing out the typo in the quote.

Dang...Squirrel Jesus may be even worse than Biker Jesus. But it's an awfully close call.

A.R. said...

"...and the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a crazed squirrel..."

Christopher Lake said...

I'm laughing, at the thought of going into a particularly modernist parish and saying to the priest, with a big smile, "Father, this art is just... craptastic!" :-)

Rick said...

It's for toddlers I think. They wouldn't be attracted to, nor would they be able to appreciate the iconic or classical depictions of the Lord.

The Crescat said...

Rick... they most certainly can! I've seen icon classes for kids as young as 4. Even infants can absorb on some subconscious level their surroundings... ever see babies in a musuem w thier parents?

Denita said...

You're right, Kat. Lots of kids know good art when they see it.

Lydia McGrew said...

Oh, good, I was afraid you weren't going to post any more bad art.

Rick, I'm speaking as a Protestant here, so I won't try to talk about icons per se, as I don't know much of anything about them and have never tried them on my kids. _But_ I want to say that this kind of cartoon Jesus (and most of them have big huge feet in silly floppy sandals, too) is a recent phenomenon and is _not_ necessary for reaching out to toddlers. When I was a little, little girl my devout Baptist parents had a book called _The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes_. All the paintings were quite decent. None of them were silly or cartoonish in the least. They were just normal, serious paintings of scenes from the Bible stories. And we had the same things on our Sunday School papers, as well. This was in the 1960's and 1970's. In the mid-eighties, Sunday School art in the Protestant churches slid over into this kind of slightly dumbed-down but still at least moderately normal black and white drawing. Starting in, I'd say, the 90's we went to All Cartoon Jesus All the Time. Now even _The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes_ has been reissued with Silly Looking Jesus. You have to get the out-of-print version for the old paintings. It's just some adult's _idea_ of what kids need and want.

I _loved_ those old paintings. I would sit up looking through them hour after hour, and they really established at least a serious, human, realistic notion of who Jesus was--and it wasn't as a cartoon figure.

kkollwitz said...

As a 3 year old my daughter had a name for this cartoonish Son of God:

Jeezy.

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

A friend of mine has another name for this cartoonish depiction: crapburger!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

The scariest thing about this painting is not that the squirrel looks psycho, Jesus looks like he has lip gloss on, or that Jesus looks slightly pudgy. No, the thing that scares me most is that it looks like a paint-by-number set and that means there are MORE of these monstrosities "out there". Yikes.