Over the years I’ve shared some epically terrible paintings of Jesus.
From Jesus in space to Jesus writing the Constitution to Jesus propositioning Adam and Eve, it seems like we Christians just can’t stop ourselves from painting Jesus in unbelievably awkward and incredibly cheesy ways.
But none of those paintings (and I would dare to say no painting of Jesus that you’ve ever seen) rival this one in potential awfulness.
(Credit: YouTube screenshot)
As you might have gathered from the headline, that guy in the toga and Hitler staché is indeed Adolph himself.
It turns out that this painting has been hanging in a church in Germany for several years…without causing much controversy. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “Of course it’s hanging in Germany and of course they’re not that upset about it.” But before your good ole American Deutscheaphobia kicks into full gear, it’s that very German hanging, non-controversy starting fact that might, just might keep this painting from being the worst idea ever in the history of art.
According to the former pastor of the church in which this potential abomination hangs, it is not, in fact, a tribute to Hitler, but rather a subversive work of art. As he explained to The Times of Israel,
“It was designed and inaugurated in a difficult time for Germany, no question,” he admitted, but added that “the individual is made aware that his life is finite no matter how powerful he might feel — there is another power over him, a stronger power.”
Goelkel noted that Jesus in the painting is preoccupied by a man who seeks assistance and does not give the Nazi leader his attention, while the fuhrer “stands despotically at the side; he’s the only one wearing boots… Haughty and arrogant.”
“This image is a central challenge to Nazism: Christ is in the middle. The powerful can stand idle as much as they want,” he surmised.
That’s a fascinating take that I know certainly didn’t pop into my head the first time I saw this painting. But I’ll give the pastor the benefit of the doubt that this was indeed the artist’s intent.
Assuming that is true, what do you think?
Would you hang this painting in your church in hopes of sparking potentially important conversations?
Or are you just not buying the whole subversive thing to begin with?
Let me know what you think in the comments.