What's the worst religious picture?

FloRossFloRoss Shipmate
We visited St Catherine's Convent museum last week, which had some great Christian art. But it also had 'God inviting Christ to sit on the throne at his right hand' by Pieter de Grebber. I can't get a link to work, but you've got God, in a big nightie and wearing a pointy God hat, Christ kneeling before him, and assorted cherubs floating around. It's truly awful.
Would anyone like to nominate a piece of religious art that is as bad?
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Comments

  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    edited October 8
    So here’s a link for those fortunate enough not to know the picture. (Should it be captioned, ‘Please can I have my ball back?’?)
  • Here you go. Although I think the theology of the title is dodgier than the picture.
  • FloRossFloRoss Shipmate
    thanks both. I love the new caption!
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Oh, how I wish the Caption Competition had been carried over to the new Ship. There were some dillies there.
  • God looks like a Wise Man in one of those "craft" projects to make Christmas decorations out of old dish detergent bottles and such.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    The little dolls faces are weird and creepy.

    Next Dr Who creature!
  • PriscillaPriscilla Shipmate
    The Angels look more like the gargoyle "ornaments" you find in garden centres. Seriously scary!
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    It's not a "hat"; it's The Triple Tiara
  • Yes, I thought that.

    Our crucified Saviour kneeling before the Pope ?

    Is Surely Outrage!

    IJ
  • EdithEdith Shipmate
    Dire indeed, but I’ve just taken a look at the ‘holy pictures’ in my old missal which all good catholic girls used to exchange with each other and regularly drop in church. There’s one of a Mabel LucieAtwell type angel carrying a cross, another of an etiolated Our Lady, clutching her pale blue garment and a third of a soulful St Teresa looking as if she’d taken too much spice. That’s a practice which has died out these days.
  • Of course With You Always yields some truly horrendous "art" simply begging for caption competitions.

    So much to choose from (each profession hides a picture), but one of my particular favourites is Jesus clearly trying to steer a truck into a tree whilst cackling evilly.
  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    @Eutychus that is a Caption Competition Gold Mine! Jesus riding shotgun with the Fighter Pilot is interesting, but this is the sort of thing that leads to harassment complaints.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    There’s a gift shop halfway up Etna where you can purchase various saints (Padre Pio especially popular) and Madonnas carved from lava and coated in glitter.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 8
    If we're going for serious art near the top of my "worst" list is L'angélus by Jean-François Millet.

    I find the whole atmosphere threatening and the idea of these peasants suddenly being halted in their labours by the geopolitical power dominating the landscape in the background horrendous. Also, the painting is tiny. If you ever have the misfortune to come across it in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, turn round, and instead be blown away by the absolutely enormous (over 2.5 m wide) Labourage Nivernais immediately opposite, on which the detail is absolutely incredible. You can almost feel the clods of earth.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Oh, those 'With You Always' exert a horrible fascination. I must stop looking at them. I will have nightmares tonight.

    MMM
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited October 8
    If amateurs are allowed we have this attempt; and we all remember this one.

    I came across these 11 a few years ago. Boxing Jesus for me.
  • Spanish pensioners should probably be supervised around works of art!

    In the “with you always” ones Jesus seems to have a thing about eyeliner...
  • "With you always" is disturbingly reminiscent of "The Joy of Sex".

    (possibly one of my favourite announcements of a death, after John Le Mes, one of the broadsheets announced the death of "Dr Alex Comfort, author of the bestselling Joy of Sex, after a series of strokes")

    AG
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Bring back the Caption Competition!

  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    edited October 8
    How is it that there are twenty replies on this thread and no-one has mentioned Thomas Kinkade yet?
    Here's a fun example.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    I like that the first question asks about that work as a jigsaw puzzle! The perfect gift.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Grunewald's The Resurrection of Christ

    Not sure why I find it so creepy(and not in a good, David Lynch sort of way), but the lobotomized smile on his face certainly doesn't help.

    Wikipedia says he was a Renaissance painter who tried to continue in the Medieval style, so maybe that partly accounts for the jarring quality of it.

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    I came across these 11 a few years ago. Boxing Jesus for me.[/quote]

    I wondered if Nathan Greene(of the godawful "Introduction") was raised Jehovah's Witness, because his stuff looks a lot like Watchtower art, especially their portrayal of landscapes. But his biography doesn't say anything about that, and since he proudly mentions being mentored by an artist famous for drawing Santa Claus, probably not.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    stetson wrote: »
    All it needs is a crank to turn to make it a Jack in the Box.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    There is something disturbingly orifice-like about the halo or corona around the Virgin Mary in this picture...
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 9
    stetson wrote: »

    I far prefer that to just about any Resurrection painting by Stanley Spencer, notably this one.

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »

    I far prefer that to just about any Resurrection painting by Stanley Spencer, notably this one.

    That has a great Halloween vibe.
  • Stanley Spencer was one of the World War 1 artists, and you can often see echoes of the WW1 trenches in his work.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    edited October 9
    stetson wrote: »
    I came across these 11 a few years ago. Boxing Jesus for me.

    I wondered if Nathan Greene(of the godawful "Introduction") was raised Jehovah's Witness, because his stuff looks a lot like Watchtower art, especially their portrayal of landscapes. But his biography doesn't say anything about that, and since he proudly mentions being mentored by an artist famous for drawing Santa Claus, probably not.

    Nope, he's a Seventh-day Adventist. His work is displayed prominently in church institutions and I have been at a worldwide SDA youth event where he taught art workshops to kids. I may even have met the man on that occasion.

    It's interesting because even if I didn't know that I would think his work "looked" SDA to me, having grown up on Adventist religious illustrations in the Bible Story books much the way Edith mentions growing up on holy pictures, and I immediately recognize the style. But SDAs and JWs share common historical roots back to the founding of both churches: I wonder if there's some explanation for the similarity in styles of religious art.



  • FloRossFloRoss Shipmate
    I think the Grunewald is a strange picture. But perhaps it is appropriate, as the Resurrection WAS strange.
  • The RogueThe Rogue Shipmate
    Any picture which shows Jesus and/or God as white is pretty awful to my eyes.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    anoesis wrote: »
    There is something disturbingly orifice-like about the halo or corona around the Virgin Mary in this picture...

    Good ol’ pagan, feminist, Magna Dea-spotting me would be quite in favour of a vulva-framed goddess.

  • FloRossFloRoss Shipmate
    In my opinion, the Grunewald Christ is not white in a racial sense, but bleached out, or made of light. Alarming but, as I said, the Resurrected Christ would have been alarming. Also remember that Grunwald painted a companion picture of Christ being taken down from the cross, with John and the Virgin Mary. Very graphic. As far as I know, they are part of the same alterpiece, but shown at different times, and perhaps for a limited amount of time. Because we can gaze on pictures for as long as we like, and not in their original context, I think we misjudge them.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    anoesis wrote: »
    There is something disturbingly orifice-like about the halo or corona around the Virgin Mary in this picture...
    That's Our Lady of Guadalupe, more sacred to Mexicans than motherhood itself.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Trudy wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    I came across these 11 a few years ago. Boxing Jesus for me.

    I wondered if Nathan Greene(of the godawful "Introduction") was raised Jehovah's Witness, because his stuff looks a lot like Watchtower art, especially their portrayal of landscapes. But his biography doesn't say anything about that, and since he proudly mentions being mentored by an artist famous for drawing Santa Claus, probably not.

    Nope, he's a Seventh-day Adventist. His work is displayed prominently in church institutions and I have been at a worldwide SDA youth event where he taught art workshops to kids. I may even have met the man on that occasion.

    It's interesting because even if I didn't know that I would think his work "looked" SDA to me, having grown up on Adventist religious illustrations in the Bible Story books much the way Edith mentions growing up on holy pictures, and I immediately recognize the style. But SDAs and JWs share common historical roots back to the founding of both churches: I wonder if there's some explanation for the similarity in styles of religious art.



    Thanks for filling in some of the background, Trudy. I'd still say that, to my non-Millerite eyes, Greene's stuff looks more JW than Adventist, but then, I have fairly extensive experience of the former, whereas my dalliance with the latter is largely confined to Uncle Arthur.


  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Lyda wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »

    I far prefer that to just about any Resurrection painting by Stanley Spencer, notably this one.

    That has a great Halloween vibe.

    Yeah, I kind of like that Spencer piece. And I second Curiousity's call that it might have something to do with World War I. It seems to belong in the same mental landscape as Wyndham Lewis' art, or Eliot's The Waste Land(not that Eliot fought in the war himself, but its subsequent themes are definitely there in that poem).

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    All it needs is a crank to turn to make it a Jack in the Box.

    A suitably creepy image, especially if it's a Jack in the Box like the one that pops up here.

    (Seriously, who had the idea to draw his eyebrows downward, the universal symbol for evil?)

  • That's Our Lady of Guadalupe, more sacred to Mexicans than motherhood itself.
    Miss Amanda, before you moved out here, Phoenix had a miraculous Virgin of Guadalupe yucca stalk:
    ...in 1989, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared in her most interesting form--a stalk of a yucca plant. No one knows who first noticed that a yucca stalk was bent into a silhouette of La Lupe. The holy yucca had sprouted near a Mexican restaurant located close to the intersection of 11th Street and Van Buren, in the heart of a Mexican-immigrant ghetto.

    You would have loved it!
  • He's holding His hands at a strange angle, as if showing off the wounds to someone at a 45 degree angle above and before him.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host, 8th Day Host
    anoesis wrote: »
    How is it that there are twenty replies on this thread and no-one has mentioned Thomas Kinkade yet?
    Here's a fun example.

    That was my first thought, but I forgot to look for examples. Kincade sucks. I prefer Spencer - who at least is trying to reflect on his war experience with his work.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    If we're allowed non-Christian entrants, I'd say almost any depiction of the Ascendant Masters is guaranteed to be creepy.

    All I can say is that any aesthetic sensibility that finds those appealing is extrememly different from my own. If I were ever inclined to explore Theosophy, those images would cure me PDQ.
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited October 9
    I quite like the Spencer too, but I am probably influenced by WW1 imagery, having studied WW1 art and propaganda in my history degree.
  • There are any number of horrible icons painted in nineteenth century Russia. I was unable to find a lot because Google wanted to show me beautiful but older icons. Here is a sample however. Son and Dad crown the Virgin while the Spirit hovers.

    Russian 19th century style typically involves a lot of sappy, syrupy elements, an almost airbrushed quality, and bright, garish colors.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Bad taste is timeless.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    (link possibly NSFW; requires double-click)

    Okay, this is technically off-topic, because the artist in question DELIBERATELY incorporates kitschiness and ugliness into his canon, but the work of my fellow Albertan John Hoyt might be of interest to anyone intrigued by some of the themes on this thread.

    I will say that I first saw some of his work almost thirty years ago, and he really has not changed his mood or themes much at all. I'd be interested to see what he could do if he channeled his idiosyncratic vision in a somewhat, umm, cheerier direction, but he is what he is, I guess.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    There are any number of horrible icons painted in nineteenth century Russia. I was unable to find a lot because Google wanted to show me beautiful but older icons. Here is a sample however. Son and Dad crown the Virgin while the Spirit hovers.

    Russian 19th century style typically involves a lot of sappy, syrupy elements, an almost airbrushed quality, and bright, garish colors.

    Could be Instagram.

  • BroJames wrote: »
    So here’s a link for those fortunate enough not to know the picture. (Should it be captioned, ‘Please can I have my ball back?’?)

    I think the caption is "Ow, my hands!"
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    Not just a painting, but a religious photograph may not be to everyone's taste. Two examples from Oscar Gustav Rejlander, who remains an important pioneer in photographic effects and manipulation:

    John the Baptist (though it may still appeal to modern viewers by its directness)

    The Two Ways of Life

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