By John Ensor •
Published: 27 Jan 2024 • 19:34
Sevilla's holy Week poster 2024.
Has artistic freedom gone too far? This question is at the heart of a heated debate in Sevilla, sparked by a controversial Holy Week poster.
On the day of its unveiling, the poster for Sevilla’s esteemed Holy Week celebration, a deeply revered event, stirred widespread disapproval among the locals. Salustiano, a native of Villaverde del Rio, is the artist behind this contentious depiction of a ‘young and beautiful’ Jesus Christ.
Salustiano’s modern rendition of the resurrected Christ, nearly bare and draped only with a modest loin cloth , has become the subject of intense debate.
The depiction, which shows the head adorned with ‘the powers of the Christ of Love,’ diverges sharply from traditional religious imagery. ‘The representation of the sacred image is very far from my style,’ Salustiano explained, acknowledging the innovative nature of his work.
However, this creative liberty has not been well-received. Some critics have derided the painting as befitting an ‘LGTBI pride‘ event, while others decry it as not representative of Holy Week.
Descriptions such as ‘shameful’, ‘horrible’, and ‘regrettable’ have been thrown around. ‘If you tell me that he is the new bachelor who is going to enter the island of temptations, I will believe it more,’ quipped one commentator, Jose Manuel.
Andres was more severe in his Twitte/X post: ‘The Holy Week poster in Seville only has one description: an absolute shame, a blasphemy and a contempt for God.’
Another replied to the criticism: ‘Andres, you have a serious. . . problem. Have you never seen Jesus Christ half naked? Grab any book you have on Christianity and look at the photos. How much nonsense.’
Another posted: ‘Not only does it not seem like a blasphemous representation of Christ to me, but I think it is brilliant, in the sense that it fulfills its purpose (let me explain): First of all, what exactly is blasphemous about this image? This is simply a different representation than the traditional one.’
Salustiano’s choice of model for this controversial piece was none other than his own son, Horacio. ‘I needed a model, a real and living body that would help me gather all the emotion, beauty and containment that I wanted to convey,’ the artist revealed.
He found in Horacio’s serene and spiritual gaze the ideal subject for his painting. Salustiano described his son as ‘a classic Christ full of serenity and sweetness’ with minimal signs of suffering.
This modernised Christ, ‘young, as a metaphor for purity, and beautiful, because beauty and goodness are the same thing, as Plato said,’ has certainly sparked a conversation.
Despite the backlash, the selection of Salustiano as the artist was based on his reputation for producing impactful, challenging, and seductive art.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
There will never be a Jesus more beautiful than the one portrayed by Jim Caviezel in The Passion of The Christ. It’s as if he were chosen by the hand of God.
where can I buy this please
What’s wrong with people? This is a lovely image and beautifully executed.
it is absolutely beautiful, only that we are talking about religion which should be respected in any manner. The painting is very much artistic but the image is not appropriate
When Jesus resurrected from the dead he had his wounds as a testament to his identity. This is not Jesus.
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