Sunday 21 April 2024

Because of Jesus picture: Controversial exhibition in church closes early

The blasphemous exhibition in Carpi closes. But the Rosaries continue

Premature end to a controversial art exhibition: following protests and an ass ault, the artists and diocese closed the "Gratia plena" exhibition in the church of Sant'Ignazio in Carpi on Wednesday. 

Originally, the paintings by Andrea Saltini were to be on display until 2 June, as the newspaper "Avvenire" reported. 

However, neither the artist's state of health nor the increased costs for security measures would allow this, Saltini explained.

An allegedly offensive depiction of Jesus has been causing protests in Italy for weeks, with artists and the diocese facing accusations of blasphemy. 

At the end of March, a man then damaged one of the exhibited artworks with spray paint and a knife. 

In the ensuing scuffle with the artist present, he was injured.

The bone of contention is a painting by Saltini that shows the naked body of Jesus after the crucifixion. His private parts are covered by the head of another man, so that the scene seems to suggest oral sex. 

According to the exhibition organisers, however, it is not the head but the man's left hand that is pressing against Jesus' ribcage. 

It is the Roman centurion Longinus. According to legend, he stabbed Jesus in the side with a spear after his death. 

According to the curators, Longinus is breaking one of Jesus' ribs in this painting.