What’s wrong with this picture?

“We don’t adore icons,
we us them to adore God”

Fr John Sexton

DSC00762
( Vasari’s Annunciation / The Louvre / Julie Cook / 2011)

Over the course of this past weekend, an interesting story made its way into the news, which just so happened to catch the eye of this old art teacher.

Now you should know that I was a little more than bothered, as well as troubled, by this story as I have already touched on this sort of subject before and like any decent teacher whose students fail to comprehend the key components of a well delivered lesson, my feathers became just a bit ruffled…yet if the truth be known, this individual “student” had obviously totally skipped class altogether that day.

It seems that someone out there has decided to not only take issue with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York but has decided to go so far as to file a law suit—

“For what?”…. I’m hearing you ask…

Well it seems that upon a recent visit to the Met, as this individual was viewing some paintings of the museum’s collection of several Renaissance and Baroque masters depicting Jesus Christ, this said individual suffered “personal stress” as the images contained, typical of the time, images of a “white” Jesus. This individual is now claiming that these images of a white Jesus are racist and should be removed.

I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type.
Imagine that, white Renaissance Northern Europeans painting images of a Jesus which looked just like them!
Shocking??
Not a bit…
But rather indicative of the time, the culture, the history, and the existing knowledge of the world—let us consider the audience of these white Northern European Christian artists…other white Northern European Christian type individuals.

I almost came unglued right then and there as I read, then later watched, the story.
A huge collective “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” should be reverberating as we all read of such lunacy.

If I had a ruler in hand, I would knock this said student upside the head as this is probably the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. But then given this day and age I would be fired as well as sued over such…sigh

First may I just say that this country has so many more glaring issues and concerns and so many more truly needful cases trying to work their way through our already dysfunctional legal system that a suit as frivolous and as ridiculous as this is a shameful waste of both time and money.

Do I feel “personal stress” when I view an exhibit of African Art, Asian Art, Hispanic Art, Native American Art, Muslim Art (although Muslims do not depict images of individuals), etc…
No, of course not.
Can I and do I understand and appreciate that art collections are more often than not, mere representations of various time periods and or cultures?
Of course I can and I do—

This entire story has me shaking my head.

It seems that a case such as this has found its little loopholes of merit as the museum receives federal monies, lots and lots of monies—so this individual and his legal eagles have thought that perhaps there is not only a little issue of separation of Church and state but also a throw back to a 1964 civil rights ruling…that a white painting of Jesus in a federally funded museum violates a civil rights act….

Which in my mind rivals with a giant exasperated “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It’s one thing that someone out there looks at a painting of Jesus depicted as white and cries foul as that’s not exactly historically accurate. As he wasn’t white–he was a middle eastern Jew. I somehow think that our atheist brethren out there would / could and may have take / taken issue with the whole historical accuracy of all of this as to them, Jesus may or may not have even existed in the first place… and if they agree he did exist as mere mortal, then that whole crucified, dead, buried and risen depiction would and most likely might send them running to lawyer up as it were…

Has this politically correctness business of ours not yet gone too far people??!!!

Stories like this give me a headache because I am incensed that there are people out there who waste precious energies over things that are so trivial and meaningless when we have innocent people dying around this globe due to radical extremist ISIS nuts out there who want us all dead…. and we’re going to waste our time worrying about stress caused when someone looks at a 500 year old painting of a white Jesus in a museum!!!!

What part of any of this story sounds right, rational or makes any sort of logical sense??????

I’m pulling a snippet of that previous lesson I was talking about earlier with a link to the original lesson on an icon….

I don’t want to give an in-depth mini history lesson today regarding icons, or of this particular image, as there is so very much out there in the form of books or on the web for the curious to discover. I simply want to share with you something that is very meaningful to me. I think it is important to share with others the things that significantly impact our own lives as those are the things that make us who we are.

As a person who grew up with Western Christianity, or that of the Roman or Latin branch of Christianity, I was always accustomed, as no doubt you were, to what typically is considered to be images of Jesus. Benevolent images of a young man of fair skin complexion, soft brown hair and beard who most often had blue eyes. But the problem with that stereotypical image is that Jesus was not European. He was a Middle Eastern Jew. Therefore that meant he most likely had a more dark or olive skin tone, with a thicker head of very dark hair. He was an orthodox, meaning devout, Jew, so it is theorized that he most probably wore the hair ringlets as do the modern day Hasidic Jews. His features were not as close to ours in the West but rather he was closer in appearance to those currently living in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, etc.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/pantocrator-2/

Historically rich are what our museums are and very well they should be.

Museums are places which thankfully exist around this globe, making available to us the wonders, marvels and lives of those from the past…allowing us to share in our collective history as humans.
And Lord know, the Renaissance was such a rich time in our history as developing human beings!

Who isn’t intrigued by the art work, scientific discoveries, architectural triumphs and sheer wonders of the Renaissance…a pivotal turning point in the history moving man from earthly dark to light…

Woe to this individual who can’t relish in the freedom he has been afforded, along with the readily available access and ability, to be able to go see these historical and beautiful bits and pieces—there are other places, other nations, around this world where there is not the freedom nor ability afforded to see or share in such…how dare he now complain that viewing such has caused him stress—you want stress—go visit the families who lost their children and loved ones 3 years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as we sorrowfully mark that sad anniversary this week….
Or go to Paris and Belgium and feel the weight of sadness, anger, frustration and worry in the loss of life as the world is still reeling from those horrific attacks as we now mark the one month anniversary to that tragedy.

You don’t like a painting?

Move on from said painting, finding one you do like…it’s that simple.

My hope for this country—and that list is gravely long, is that we can get our act together as a Nation, to truly see what it is that is most important to us as a whole—and that is that we take care of the elderly, the infirmed, the young, the homeless, the hungry, the less fortunate, our environment, the dying and the needy….
That we can stop for just one day from being so utterly self absorbed and self obsessed, that we can reach out beyond our own wants, our incessant need to tweet, post and the taking of one more self absorbed selfie…tossing all of that nonsense and worthlessness aside as we reach outwards, far away from self, outward to those around us who are in desperate need both physically as well as emotionally and more important spiritually….

God have mercy on us all….

19 comments on “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Wally Fry says:

    That was a most excellent rant

  2. atimetoshare says:

    Oh, how I feel your pain! We have a similar situation in Minnesota as the state capitol building is being renovated. Much of the original art on view for years and years is under public scrutiny because of it’s violent and/or racist content. They’re paintings of the Civil War or of native Americans – a definite part of the history of our state. It makes me sick to think that we’ve got to walk on eggs in every circumstance when it comes to offending someone, but there is no offense when it comes to criticizing Christians for their beliefs. A sad state of affairs indeed. Fortunately, God is still in control, despite the mess man continues to make.

    • I am speechless Kathy over the push in this country to just re-write or throw out all history that we just don’t like.
      It’s real, it happened, we may not like that it happened today but we look through the lenses of 21st century eyes—NOT the lens of 19th, 18th, 17th century eyes—men and woman died fighting a civil war—I hate thinking about how divided this nation once was such that it makes me sad, but—if the truth be told are we not divided still???
      After that war—a war that was more economic than anything else despite what certain people will believe— our history—for good or bad is still just that, our history—we can’t erase it, change it, make it disappear because today we think we’re better, smatter, wiser…the thing about history is that we learn, we heal, we move on and we grow and we work very hard to to learn from past mistakes.
      I have had the pleasure of visiting Germany on several occasions, in particular Berlin—lets talk about a dark history—that city has done a marvelous job of rebuilding literally and physical as well as emotionally following a devastating World War that saw the city almost totally destroyed, as well as the black blanket of division with literally a wall dividing the city from democracy and communism—First Hitler then later a brutal Communist regime each having called Berlin home—yet today—the city moves forward—granted they don’t like to draw any unnecessary attention to Hitler’s reign there but it’s a fact and one they have had to live with yet move forward from…
      Soldiers both confederate and union each fought and died for what they believed at the time was right—we can’t change that fact. May we learn to honor the dead from that war with Grace. With an appreciation that each side fought thinking they were doing what was right by their home and way of life.
      We can’t change the fact that there have been slaves on this planet for as long as there have been people—the Jews being enslaved much longer than Africans or any other people for that matter, that’s for sure—-yet we learn from our darkness, we seek forgiveness and we move forward—by holding on to hostilities and resentment isn’t going to help, by attempting to dismantle it won’t change what happened–Art which was commissioned 150 years ago is indeed historic in itself-history is an important component to any civilized society—look back, appreciate the good and be glad to rebuild good from the bad…and honor those lives who toil doing what at that time seemed right—
      This nation has so much more to worry over than erasing a beautiful carving on Stone Mountain or changing this and that because in our overtly sick politically correct society—we actually lack tolerance—the one thing people keep screaming for—rather ironic I think

      • atimetoshare says:

        It’s more than ironic. It’s a true sign of the times and all this PC is enough to drive a sane person crazy. I pray we get some good leadership after the next election. Even all the political stuff is nothing but a side show. What really needs to happen is that return to our God. He’s promised to heal our land if we just follow Him. It’s easy, but extremely difficult when there are so many who have forgotten or don’t think they need Him. We have to remember that He wins in the end.

      • thanks Kathy—I replied a big Amen, but don’t think it went to you but probably CS instead as sometimes I can’t find the right slot—- but that’s nothing, after 5 years with my car, I just figured out how to play my the music from my car through the car’s radio as the port for the hook up was hidden deep in the console—go figure πŸ™‚

      • atimetoshare says:

        LOL I have the same problem. Technology can be really annoying at times.

      • and you can see I can’t even type correctly—that should have been phone–as in the music on my iPhone playing through my car—somedays I really do worry about myself πŸ™‚ HAHA

      • atimetoshare says:

        You’re just fine in my book!

  3. ColorStorm says:

    Yeah jewels, the real story is HOW something so stupid as a persons ‘feelings’ being compromised by viewing a painting……………even reaches the light of day.

    I agree, God help us. The effects of liberalism on the human mind cloaked as ‘progress’ is a divine travesty.

    • I don’t know if I’m more mad or just plain sad over all of this—have we become so self absorbed, self obsessed, that we’ve thrown all common sense, compassion, self restraint out the window???

  4. Nicodemas says:

    POWerful words, very well stated.

  5. Unfreakin’believable!!! I’m mean really??? I’m offended daily by things that I see and hear and I don’t whine about it or file a lawsuit. Some people have way, way too much spare time on their hands. They could use that time and energy to create a painting they’d like or just and just not see that one. Or she could by a copy of that painting and paint the face black or rainbow colored. Dang, this stuff is going way too far now. I’m not a racist nor am I a homophobe as many of us are being called now. This kind of crap is exactly why there will never be peace on earth and good will towards men. And you are exactly right, it’s because too many people have become completely self-absorbed and self-obsessed. It is truly, truly a sad state of affairs. Love, your politically incorrect Texas tumbleweed. πŸ™‚ ❀

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