Artist defends his depiction of Christ

Controversy over sexy Jesus: Archbishop calls for end to debate

Sevilla - For a few days now, the depiction of an almost naked Christ has been causing unrest in Spain. The Archbishop of Seville has called for a return to the essentials. And the painter of the controversial painting has also spoken out.

Published  on 31.01.2024 at 11:41  – 

The Archbishop of Seville, José Ángel Saiz Meneses, has called for an end to the controversy surrounding the almost naked depiction of Christ on a poster for Semana Santa. Saiz called for "raising the level of the debate so that we put Christ in the centre", the Spanish newspaper "ABC" reported on Tuesday. He asked Christ "to help us to become more mature, to reflect on the essentials, to follow in his steps, to fill us with life", the archbishop was quoted as saying. The archbishopric defended the artistic freedom of the painter Salustiano García to depict Christ as he sees fit. An initiative by opponents of the depiction is collecting signatures to have the Semana Santa posters removed.

García's painting had caused displeasure because it shows Christ covered only by a skimpy loincloth. The critics are bothered by the very realistic depiction of Jesus, which they consider too sexy, feminine and therefore blasphemous. Responsible for the poster for this year's Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations in Seville is the General Council of the city's brotherhoods, which characterise the festivities with processions. The poster with García's painting was presented to the public on Saturday.

HTML-Elemente (z.B. Videos) sind ausgeblendet. Zum Einblenden der Elemente aktivieren Sie hier die entsprechenden Cookies.

The painter rejected criticism of his work. "If someone sees something dirty in my painting, it is their own impurity that they are projecting onto the image," said García. He is faithful to the tradition of painting and the religion in which he grew up. His depiction of Christ shows no more skin than other statues and images of Christ. The excitement about his painting is also related to the fact that many people are no longer educated and have probably never been to a museum or a church.

The celebrations during Holy Week are deeply rooted in popular piety, particularly in Andalusia in southern Spain. Religious brotherhoods organise processions through the towns and villages with depictions of the Passion of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, which are often attended by thousands of spectators and tourists. Outside of Holy Week, the associations, which have their roots in penitential brotherhoods, also fulfil social and charitable tasks. (rom)