Illuminated Matsby, Vol 24

Another image of faith and devotion…

I wish they would stop messing with Carl Bloch’s beautiful painting.

From the September Ensign

Comments

  1. haha. So bad. (And so very sad!)

  2. Brilliant commentary. As usual.

  3. I would laugh if the true story behond this wasn’t so sad.

  4. Yankee Sojourner says:

    Not amusing, just vulgar. It isn’t wise to make light of sacred things…

  5. Peter LLC says:

    Tell that to Cecilia Jimenez.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks the touch-up is an improvement on the original? It communicates something about the inner brokenness or strangeness of Someone who descended below all things. There is no beauty that we should desire him.

  7. Quickmere Graham says:

    Not amusing, just vulgar. It isn’t wise to make light of sacred things…

    That’s somewhat how I felt about the original defacement to the painting made by someone at the Ensign staff, but pointing out the obvious intention behind this satire kind of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?

  8. Matt Page says:

    Exactly which “sacred things” are being made light of, Yankee? Mormons don’t believe in revered icons or worship objects, so I don’t understand why you would consider a painting to be sacred.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the stories behind this one: 1. The Ensign recently took the liberty of making changes to a beautiful painting of the savior. 2. A lady in Spain recently took the liberty of “restoring” another beautiful painting of the savior… both results were in a way similar.

    Quickmere is right, explaining the joke ruins it, but maybe it would help to know the stories behind the satire before you ignorantly label the piece “vulgar” or accuse anyone of “making light of sacred things”.

  9. Matsby, when the paintings improved.

  10. I hadn’t heard about the Ensign changes, is there a link somewhere to that story?

  11. Am I the only one who thinks the touch-up is an improvement on the original?

    Hopefully.

  12. it's a series of tubes says:

    I hadn’t heard about the Ensign changes, is there a link somewhere to that story?

    http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2012/05/on-immodest-angels/

    I hadn’t heard about it before now, either, but Damn. How. Stupid. It boggles my mind that someone could see the Bloch original and think it was somehow “inappropriate”.

  13. I laughed myself into a coughing fit. Thanks again Matt.

  14. For the record, I felt like any sacred things involved here were fully honored.

  15. Ron Madson says:

    Wow, resurrection may not be all that it is cracked up to be…

  16. Are wings considered immodest? There’s something about the face that looks familiar, too, like from a news story.

  17. No, but bare arms are, apparently. That is, if the subject is female.

  18. elizarsnow says:

    Do non-Mormon Christians believe in angels with literal wings? I always assumed it was symbolic/metaphorical–sort of shorthand capturing the angel’s ability to travel via means beyond mortal human capacity. And anyway, there are angels with wings in our canon (Isaiah 6 comes to mind), so I’m not sure why the Ensign staff thinks we can handle reading about angels with wings, but not looking at them.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Well played, Matsby.

  20. Once I caught the story from Spain, I realized I was seeing Pure Genius at work.

  21. EdwardJ: Excellent comment, I actually think you make a great point. The story still makes me laugh in a hopefully-not-mocking way, but on a deeper level I think it can be interpreted in the way you suggest, and I like it.

  22. Yankee Sojourner says:

    RE: #8
    Matt, I am well aware that Mormons don’t believe in “revered icons or sacred objects”, [although that could be argued when one considers that a few of the Prophet Joseph's seerstones are still in possession of the Church and for several years sat on the altar of the Holy of Holies in one of the pioneer temples*], as I am equally aware of the same tradition being extremely strong in Catholicism and Orthodoxy. It isn’t the painting that is profaned, it is the image and person of Christ Himself. Carl Bloch, as the creator of the original painting, were he alive today would certainly agree. What concerns me is that with the rise of militant atheism in the U.S. today, I see more and more portrayals of Christ and the other Personages of the Godhead that are meant to trivialize, denigrate, demean and belittle God, Christ, and the Atonement. This attempt at cleverness and humor plays right into the hands of those who are busily creating this genre with the conscious intend and purpose of undermining and destroying the faith of others. It saddens me thar a believing Latter-day Saint would freely add it this type of representation.
    I am equally troubled that anyone, regardless of the rights conferred by ownership of the artwork, should take it upon
    themselves to alter the artist’s original for the sake of doctrinal ‘purity’. These works exist as Bloch’s vision of the Personages and events they were intended to portray. They are, if you will, Bloch’s testimony of his faith in the reality and
    relevance of Christ and His mission. As you would be offended if someone took it upon themselves to alter a written testimony of yours, so I believe that Bloch would be equally offended. Children will not be led astray by Bloch’s portrayal of angels with wings, that for parent’s to explain the symbolic representation. The Church does not do itself any favors by such
    a puerile and insensitive act perpetrated on a masterwork.
    Perhaps, yet again this proves that I am “past it”, but it is my view as an artist myself.

    *One may see these “sacred objects” in a photograph or two, but they are not put on public display or allowed to be handled by just any ‘rank and file’ Latter-day Saint. Thus I think that they can legitimately be considered as sacred objects.

  23. “It isn’t the painting that is profaned, it is the image and person of Christ Himself.”

    #22 – In summary, profound points are not worth making if you have to risk offending someone by doing what it takes to make them – especially if you have to use the actual medium necessary to make the point most effectively.

    Shame on you, Matt, for staying within the genre to make such a profound point.

  24. Matt Page says:

    “What concerns me is that with the rise of militant atheism in the U.S. today, I see more and more portrayals of Christ and the other Personages of the Godhead that are meant to trivialize, denigrate, demean and belittle God, Christ, and the Atonement. This attempt at cleverness and humor plays right into the hands of those who are busily creating this genre with the conscious intend and purpose of undermining and destroying the faith of others. It saddens me thar a believing Latter-day Saint would freely add it this type of representation.”

    #22 – You are once again ignorantly accusing me of something that is not true. I am not adding to that type of representation as my satire is not “meant to trivialize, denigrate, demean and belittle God, Christ, and the Atonement”. It is clear to everyone who is familiar with recent events that this picture is not addressing Christ himself nor his atonement. I am not going to explain again what is being addressed because I think everybody but you already understands.

    If you take a piece of satire and imagine for yourself a meaning behind it (disregarding the context of the piece – even after it is spelled out for you), you cannot get upset at the meaning YOU imagined. YOU imagined that this was a critique of the Lord despite it being obvious that is a critique of altering art. That is YOUR problem.

  25. Thanks, Matt. Now that I’ve seen such a defaced painting I have no choice but to convert to militant atheism. And ir’s all. Your. Fault.

  26. I honestly feel really bad for Cecilia Jimenez. In the piece I read it said that the priests knew about her attempt to restore the painting and now they are just throwing her under the bus. They are even talking of charging her–that’s terrible. As far as the Ensign, imo, that is vandalism: worse yet it was completely unnecessary.

  27. Matt Page says:

    I feel bad for her too. I know how it feels to accidentally ruin something because you get in over your head.

  28. Matt Page says:

    Actually now that I think about it, I see that you and I are both saying the same thing, Yankee. We are both saying that when one starts making changes to another person’s statement (as they did in the Ensign with Bloch’s painting/statement), something from the original sentiment is lost. You said it in comment #22 and I said it with a picture that tied together two examples of that point in a “1+1=5″ kind of way.

    We said the same thing in different languages. You simply didn’t understand the language I said it in.
    ______

    I also want to say that I agree with BHodges that comment #6 by EdwardJ is pretty profound. And I too appreciate that interpretation.

  29. #28 – Thanks, Matt, for that. I learned from it, and I appreciate the lesson.

  30. Alf O'Mega says:

    When I click on your “authors” link, Matt, I can find most of the previous installments of the Illuminated Matsby series, but volumes 17 through 21 seem to be missing. You didn’t lend them to Martin Harris, did you?

  31. Matt Page says:

    Alf – Yeah, there was never a volume 17 – 21. I renumbered starting at 22 factoring in the different “special edition” posts. That’s confusing. Sorry.

  32. I’ll try to throw together a post on EdwardJ’s sentiment in the next few days as part of my series about disability and Mormon thought, because our art raises interesting questions about our views of wholeness and holiness. (This is also like the main question in a new book called The Color of Christ which has been talked about over at JI recently and which hopefully I’ll have a review for in the coming months, it talks about race and depictions of Jesus and assumptions about wholeness and holiness.)

  33. Just saw the edited version the Ensign published; the person in charge of THAT nifty change must have started his/her career cutting out the nude paintings from the art books at the BYU library….

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