Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fat Jesus

A work colleague of mine was surfing yesterday looking at kitsch Jesus art - and I use the term art loosely here. I'm sure many of you will have seen these before.

Here we have 'Biker Jesus'

Jesus in camo gear - but apparently called 'I Am Peace'

'Jesus the Sportsman'

'Jesus the Extreme Sportsman'

In all of these Jesus is definitely a White Westerner. Even though we know he was of Jewish decent he isn't very often portrayed that way in religious art.

That has changed recently though. African and Asian Christian art has portrayed him in a way that connects with their culture.

In every piece of serious religious art I've ever seen I have never seen Jesus portrayed as overweight. The only images that I found when I googled 'Fat Jesus' were caricatures, cartoons, and an advert for a theater piece about a singer who was turned down to play the role of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar because of his size.

Now historically I know the chances are that Jesus was not heavy, all that walking for one thing. But if it's now o.k. to do serious works of art that show Jesus as Asian, or African, or even kitsch pieces that show Jesus playing basketball, why is nearly every image of Jesus slim? 'African Jesus' almost has a six pack!'

Whilst surfing I even found this:

To be honest though this pic makes me feel uncomfortable.

Would a 'Fat Jesus' picture make you uncomfortable? Is it possible to take one seriously?


Jerry said...

I wonder why no one portrays Jesus in a yarmulke or praying with a tallis (prayer shawl)? Jesus' Jewish identity is widely acknowledged by both the bible and outside historical sources/research...

Don said...

I haven't seen an architect Jesus either. Guess I am not doing one of the chosen jobs.

Kim said...

Link to Botero's "Fat Jesus"

Pete the Brit said...

Thanks Kim. I did see that pic but wasn't sure whether it was meant as serious or Caricature.

Don - what about the pictures of Blake drew of Creation?


I assume it's meant to be God the Father - but that means you're right up there in in the Heavenly Job department :)

Gregarius said...

Why is Jesus keeping the ball away from those kids?

Ginger said...

I've seen those ridiculous (and hilarious) Western American Jesus statues before. (Cringe)

They are disturbing.

And funny.

I'm so confused.

But also, maybe Islam has it right - as in one should not even try to depict God... That could be a lot of our problem. Hmm. Will have to think about that.