27 April 2009

A Reluctant Messiah?

"The Truth" by Painter Michael D'Antuono, which will be unveiled on President Obama's 100th Day in Office at NYC's Union Square

Geez, this is enough to make a premillennial dispensationalist out of you (but, on the other hand, I find secular science fiction to be far more interesting). All things considered, I largely appreciate the public image of our president, despite the fact that my libertarian ideals recoil from many of his policies. I would like to think that if he caught wind of this endeavor by D'Antuono, that he'd distance himself entirely from it. I'm reminded of St. Paul and his careful intention to speak of Jesus, the true Messiah, as a direct confrontation to any and all imperial cults—ancient or modern. Here's to hoping this painting makes Mr. Obama profoundly uncomfortable.

**Update: Apparently, D'Antuono has cancelled the unveiling set for this Wednesday. The real sad thing in all this is how the painting encapsulates all too well much of what passes for Christian art these days—sentimental, trite, and just plain bad execution. For a taste of something quite the opposite—indeed, uncomfortably so—consider the following (by Guido Rocha, a Brazilian sculptor who himself had experienced torture):

Makes the above look ridiculous, doesn't it?


steve said...

About as creative as drawing horns and a goatee on a Dubya effigy.

I never get this stuff. I'm such an under-realized American Christian. Sigh. Maybe that's another advantage to also not being much of a politico.

That second picture makes me stop breathing for a few seconds. Yeow. I sorta like it.


John Schaefer said...

Catholics are good at art because they take aesthetics seriously; protestants, especially American evangelicals? Eh... It starts at home. When was the last time a protestant church decided to build a building that didn't look like a warehouse or a shopping mall? Sometime around 1912, I would guess...

Chris Donato said...

@Zrim: That probably is a certain side-effect of your not being much of a politico. I think anabaptists like Yoder had pretty much the same reaction.

@John: I remember a professor of mine (in seminary) ruminating in much the same way—growing up he remembers thinking that the Catholics had all the great art! They had robust marble statues in their courtyards; Protestants had flannelgraphs. No doubt it has much to do with taking aesthetics seriously (or not).

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