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April 28, 2009

NYC Artist Cancels Obama-as-Jesus Portrait

Artist Michael D'Antuono was planning to unveil "The Truth" - a portrait of President Obama wearing a crown of thorns and holding his hands in crucifix form - tomorrow in New York's Union Square to commemorate Obama's 100th day in office, but decided to cancel after receiving thousands of angry e-mails about the portrait's religious overtones.

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The portrait, which shows Obama lifting a dark veil to reveal (or hide) the presidential seal, was not meant to offend Christians or make light of their beliefs, D'Antuono told Mark Hemingway of National Review Online. He explains:

The idea of the piece, or the reaction that I'd hoped for, was to highlight our nation's deep partisan divide and how our interpretation of the truth is really prejudiced by our political perspective and I think that to a large degree we are being manipulated by the media. I miss the old day when we just have the facts. Now we have pundits and spin and strategists.

I just thought that through that painting people would see different things. The right and the left would have different interpretations of it based on their political lens. But I have to admit I was very surprised that instead of that I got thousands of email[s] complaining on the religious front. And that was not my intent at all. I wanted to create a dialog politically but not religiously. I didn't mean to make fun of anybody's religion; maybe I did so naively but I didn't mean it that way. In the bible Jesus is The Truth and comparing Obama that way isn't something I meant to do at all.

Apparently, I've upset a lot of people. And I've decided that's not what I wanted to do and I'm not going to display it in the park on Wednesday ... art is meant to be somewhat provocative but the religious element went way farther than I had anticipated.

Whether D'Antuono is sincerely aiming for deep conversation or mere provocation is unclear; his own website describes the painting this way: "More than a presidential portrait, 'The Truth' is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation's current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue."

He told Hemingway that the portrait may still appear in a gallery showing.

Related Tags: Art, obama, symbolism

Comments

Either provocation was the goal of the artist who painted "The Truth",or tact is something he doesn't have an abundance of.This painting will, no doubt, be offensive to a lot of people for various reasons.

Christians, obviously, are going to be offended by the way the artist seemingly portrays President Obama as a Christ-like figure.Democrats are going to view this piece as satire making fun of their political beliefs & inferring that they are so simple-minded that they view Obama as a messiah.

One very vocal group will no doubt be most pleased by this painting. I'm referring to far right wingers without religious beliefs.They are constantly deriding President Obama as a fraud & his supporters as idiots.These people scornfully refer to Obama as the "Chosen One", "The Newly Risen Christ" or simply "The Messiah".Since they have no Christian convictions & seem to think those who do are dolts they have no qualms about portraying a mere mortal as the Son of God.

I know nothing about this artist's beliefs, but his painting makes me think it likely this work is a sarcastic put-down of President Obama , his supporters, democrats, & Christians.As I said earlier, I think a wide variety of people will be offended by this.Maybe my assessment of what the artist is trying to say is wrong, but I personally find this painting offensive.Furthermore, I doubt it will promote much civil discussion on the state of the U.S. political system.

SHEER BLASPHEMY FROM A WARPED MIND.

It is writtent "God will not be mocked and we will be held accountable for every idle word".

This is pure old-fashioned political satire which young people don't seem to recognize (where are our history teachers). It is making fun of the media making Obama out to be the superhero, the King, the answer to all our and the country's problems ever since he came out to run against Hillary. I laughed but I'm older, seen some really nasty political satire in my lifetime. I would have preferred using king instead of Jesus props but it wouldn't have been as strong enough satire. It is a free country, free speech and all that and if a judge can say a mother has the right, for money, to use her daughter's genitals as art, using religious props is free speech according to that judge. The only problem I have with religious prop use in art is if it encourages death or hate of Christians and even with that I wonder if Jesus would care as he said to ignore dissenters and move on. We just need to watch to make sure that use of religion in satire isn't threatening the very lives of Christians etc. which than is harrassment, racism,and encouraging murder. Outside of that, to the liberal Obama fans, what have you said to us Christians when we objected to you people bringing in porn (sex scenes to tv, movies, etc), "legal" drug use, teaching of homosexuality as normal in our schools, abortion, etc. all with no respect for parents, or to any objector as not even a human with an opinion,etc. and that we are to be at the least, ignored. I believe you told us, change the channel if we don't like it.

This image that we have formulated in our minds of Jesus Christ crucified was given to us by one of the greatest artist that ever lived. Of course Obama is not the messiah but to many people and not just americans he represents hope for a better day just as Jesus is hope for us all, I understand the outrage of some but the fact still remains that we as a nation have gotten so far away from what Jesus really represents yet we get so upset over something that really does not matter we have bigger issues than one man trying to make a statement. Food for thought could it be that we are straining a nat and swallowing a camel WWJD???

Paint horn's on his head with a backdrop of fire to portray his real identity.

He deserves no comparison to Jesus Christ.

"Paint horn's on his head with a backdrop of fire to portray his real identity. He deserves no comparison to Jesus Christ."

That may be an American response but it is certainly not a Christian one.

Matt. 5:10-12;6:14-15...Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt. 6:14,15...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Rom. 12:14...bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not. Please remember that our Lord foretold these things and instructed us to love one another, including our enemies.

Me - I'm not offended. I couldn't care less. Jesus doesn't need me to defend him. On the contray I need Jesus to defend me and to go before me clearing my path. All he needs me to do is love and spread his word.

If this so offends some of you, who call yourself Chrisitans. You need to ask yourself why?

Is this offensive? Without questions, yes. The artist is being dishonest at the very least with himself if he says it isn't. To anyone else, if you don't understand that it would offend believers, you also are either not being honest or you just don't care. It doesn't matter. Obviously, it's now okay to offend Christians. We all notice that such lack of sensitivity is not taken toward our Muslim citizens here and now Muslims around the world. That's just an example. Of course, Christians won't do anything other than register their disappointment. And for that they're also attacked. What a world. But we'll go on and continue to pray and turn the other cheek. God is still sovereign.

Is this offensive? Without questions, yes. The artist is being dishonest at the very least with himself if he says it isn't. To anyone else, if you don't understand that it would offend believers, you also are either not being honest or you just don't care. It doesn't matter. Obviously, it's now okay to offend Christians. We all notice that such lack of sensitivity is not taken toward our Muslim citizens here and now Muslims around the world. That's just an example. Of course, Christians won't do anything other than register their disappointment. And for that they're also attacked. What a world. But we'll go on and continue to pray and turn the other cheek. God is still sovereign.