Someone sent this image to me in an email, talking about how GREAT and BEAUTIFUL and MEANINGFUL it is and how I needed to send it along to non-Christians I know.
Why? What for? To say, “Hi! Not only am I a Christian, which probably annoys you, but I have really bad taste, which is inexcusable. Wanna hang out?”
You know, I can’t explain it, but this painting actually enrages me. Mainly because it sucks and I’m a crankypants. But also because this is what Christians consider “great art.” Throwing anything and everything “symbolic” at a canvas and causing sensory overload to the point of seizure and meaninglessness. The effect on me is the precise opposite of its intended effect, I’m sure. This painting actually means NOTHING to me because it’s trying so hard to mean EVERYTHING. Ugh.
(The culprit/”artist” is John McNaughton.)
Oh, his website — which made me a little dyspeptic — showed this piece in cloying closeup and that document Jesus is holding? It’s the Declaration of Independence.
Let me bullet point my issues here:
~ Again, it’s just bad. It is. Anyone with a modicum of taste will agree. I’m sorry.
~ I’m not saying the dude doesn’t know how to paint. I’m saying the dude doesn’t know how to think or edit himself, which is much worse.
~ You know, it’s basically Thomas Kincaide meets patriotism and I cannot stand Thomas Kincaide although I have no issue with patriotism.
~ But it does meld Jesus with patriotism, which I DO have an issue with.
~ Jewish Jesus is pretty and white.
~ He’s holding The Declaration of Independence, which he wrote as we all know.
~ Lincoln has his arms outstretched worshiping Jesus and/or The Declaration. Although, Abe? You’re turned the wrong way, aren’t you?
~ The dude next to Lincoln — Adams? — appears to be worshiping Lincoln or gesturing to Lincoln. “HE farted. I didn’t do it.”
~ I do enjoy the fellow on the far right next to — Adams? — who seems about to bolt from the canvas. Hahahaha.
~ The little kid gets to touch The Declaration, but not Jesus. “Don’t touch the robe, kid.”
~ I also enjoy that Ben Franklin looks slightly pissy and pouty. “You know, I invented electricity, Jesus, so big whoop on the halo thing around your head.”
~ The weeping justice makes me vomit.
~ Is that Thomas Jefferson or John Hancock to the left of Pretty Jesus there? Is that a rolled-up copy of The Declaration or a baseball bat? Is he about to open a can of whup ass??
~ Is the dude in the lower right-hand corner texting?? Hahahaha.
~ Who’s that woman between Franklin and Jefferson/Hancock? Is she wearing a breastplate? It looks like …. Joan of Arc??? I’m so confused.
~ Is that Reagan next to the Betsy Ross chick? What up, Reagan? He seems a blank to me. Is this Alzheimer’s Reagan then?
~ Why is the blonde reporter in the lower right interviewing the pregnant lady’s hair?
~ Who’s the sobby janitor on the far left?
~ O how I hate this.
~ Although I would totally change my opinion if Waldo were hiding somewhere in there.
Please take a moment this weekend, pippa, to ponder this painting and the rich confusing history it represents.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!
(UPDATE: Commenter Brenda put a great link in the comments to the artist’s site. Click on this link and you’ll be able to scroll over all the faces and learn what ALL THE SYMBOLISM is. You must check it out. Lordy.)
Oh, oops. My bad on something. Jesus hold the Constitution. Jefferson, to the left there, holds the Declaration. And here I was hoping it was a baseball bat and someone was about to open a can of whup ass.