Thursday Afternoon Spiritual Artwork Poll

Feast your eyes upon the artwork below, and then tell us: Which one evokes the most powerful spiritual feelings.


  1. The Senior Partner perfectly embodies the corporate attitude of the higher-ups in the Church, in my opinion.

  2. Mark Brown says:

    Sorry, I can’t vote because none of them evokes spiritual feelings.

    Powerful desire to run for the men’s room with my hand over my mouth, on the other hand…..

  3. 2. My soul was stirred most by Senior Partner because the aesthetic is so awkward, goofy, and Thomas Kinkade on steroids.

  4. Just say no to gigolo Jesus.

  5. Friends – really like it

  6. My So-Called Jesus, Stoner Jesus, Corporate Jesus and Inappropriate Uncle Jesus are equally bad.

  7. Does the amblyopia in Jesus Wept have a scriptural basis, or is it the artist’s interpretation of one of the effects of excruciating pain? Pain and suffering is not a cause of amblyopia, so other than a textual reference, if any, I’m not sure where this feature comes from. It is distracting IMHO.

  8. I think I could have lived my life happy without seeing Jesus as an Oak Ridge Boy in a tuxedo taking an innocent young girl….to prom?? To wife??
    And white-robed Jesus is like all those awkward Glamour shots poses.

  9. I like “Blue Steel Wept” best myself. It’s a Schadenfreude thing.

  10. Bearded Kenney G-sus totally and completely creeps me out.

  11. I’m not moved by any of them, not at all. Lover of my soul though, is repulsive.

  12. StillConfused says:

    Jesus wept looks really creepy.

  13. What about this gem?

  14. Some of Stephen Sawyer’s other work:

  15. At least you didn’t include that “Sacrament Meeting” painting that is being fired around via mass forwards. Ugh.

    None of these inspire me. “Senior Partner” is the very definition of bad art.

  16. StillConfused says:

    I definitely want my Jesus to be less sexy and have less of a perm. I would prefer he have a more middle eastern / Hebrew look to him too.

  17. “Bearded Kenney G-sus” ftw

  18. “Come Unto Me” = Jeremy Davies from Lost. Jesus is my constant!

  19. You missed “Jesus Passing the Sacrament” from Doc Christensen:

    Of course, it’s only a hand and a robe, but the woman’s face from “The Scream” is a winner.

  20. Corporate Caveman Lawyer Jesus? That one scares me.

  21. but the woman’s face from “The Scream” is a winner.
    Her expression is perfectly reasonable when you notice that Jesus is not wearing a white shirt to pass the sacrament.

  22. Seriously, sometimes I think the radical Sunni’s have the right idea about banning any pictures of Muhammad. Nothing like stopping bad art right at the starting gate.

  23. Have been trying to find a Jesus picture that I actually like for my house. Can’t find any! Any suggestions?

  24. I like “Friends”. That’s how I imagine Jesus to be.

  25. When I look at medieval religious art where Jesus is among people in their (then) modern settings and dress, I’ve wondered about placing that robed figure into (currently) modern settings. Now I know, and it ain’t pretty.

  26. cms,
    I like my print of Rembrandt’s portrait of Jesus that I got from the BYU Museum store.

  27. Gilgamesh says:


  28. I voted for emo Jesus.

  29. Isn’t it obvious by the title that Lover of My Soul depicts Yanni, not Jesus?

  30. Lover of my Soul = Telenovela Jesus

  31. Unknown Title = Jesus auditions to be the 4th Jonas Brother

  32. I vote for Lover of My Soul. It’s so nice to see men depicted well with children. Otherwise, the Friends one. Maybe it’s just that I have a little daughter about that age…

  33. well, they’re all pretty icky, but I picked Friends, because I love seeing jesus talking to little children. It really resonates with me. I think the Daniel Faraday Jesus is too cute to be Jesus.

    And Brad, I think you’re going to Heck for even posting these pictures.

  34. I feel sorry for Liz Lemon Swindle. Bless her heart.

    cms- I like this one.

  35. Lover of my Soul = Billy Ray Cyrus Jesus

  36. @Matt W.

    I love that one too!

    I am just floored by some of these and maybe they’re blessing in disguise from our Father in Heaven. Oh the joy!

  37. @Eric S. – I have to thank you for introducing me to my new all-time favorite artist: Stephen Sawyer!

  38. Jesus Wept So Hard His Eyes Rolled Back His Head is messed UP.

    Yanni/Billy Ray Cyrus Jesus is wearing a groom’s tux with a little girl wearing a bride’s dress. What the heck was that artist thinking? I can’t venture a guess, honestly.

    Then there’s Sex in the City Jesus who doesn’t mind that Samantha is older and he’s going to be really supportive when she gets breast cancer, despite his busy, budding acting career, because, you know. He’s Jesus.

    I guess I’d have to go with Friends.

  39. Is nausea a spiritual feeling?

  40. creepy. all these pictures are totally weird and creepy.

  41. I prefer Van Pelt‘s Golfer (tough stance!), Clown, Juggler, Guitarist, Expectant Mother, or Dental Assistant.

  42. Wept? I don’t see any tears, I see a slack jaw and droopy eyes, looks more like “took a bong hit.”

  43. The Senior Partner is cheesy (don’t know why, but it strikes me as slightly Covey-esque), but “Lover of My Soul” is just plain evil. Seriously, it’s got me wanting to call CPS. Friends is gorgeous, though.

  44. … and then the artist’s name is Liz Lemon Swindle … snort, snort, chuckle…

  45. Oooh, Justin, I love the ‘Biker” version! I want to put that in my living room over the mantle.

  46. Coffinberry says:

    Ardis, my visiting teacher forwarded that sacrament one to me the other day, and then gushed that night when she visited, asking didn’t I just looove it? I just smiled and let her prattle on. I guess it felt too… too… something. Over the top, maybe?

    I like this one by Roger Loveless; it hangs on the wall in my Kitchen/Diningroom.

  47. My 7-year-old daughter just leaned over my shoulder, pointed to “Lover of my Soul” and said, “What is THAT?!”

  48. I liked the Friends one, the others didn’t look too natural- especially the Jesus Wept one. The eye movement looked unnatural.

  49. All of these are the artistic equivalent of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Indeed, compared to these pathetic portrayals, the gospel art kit is high art.

    Brad, thank you for posting these thoroughly trivial and insipid portrayals of the savior of mankind. They remind me how many things I take for granted when I look at other religions.

  50. Mommie Dearest says:

    The range of artistic taste in human beings never ceases to amaze me. I have to abstain because I just can’t pick a favorite.

    cms, try anything by Carl Bloch.

  51. “The Senior Partner”. Or rather… “Jesus Does Wall Street”. Probably sealing the deal to short Survival Seeds.

  52. Coffinberry, I’m getting it from all directions. There’s nothing subtle about it, is there? It’s the pixel equivalent of hitting you between the eyes with a sledgehammer and screaming at you: “Feel this emotion! Think this thought!” There’s absolutely nothing left for a second glance. {shudder}

    That’s what’s wrong with “Senior Partner.” Besides its sheer dumbness, I mean.

  53. Yuck. Where is the dis-like button?

  54. One of the links in the above comments tried to plant a virus. Disgusting. And the pictures are too.

  55. Sorry. They all give me the heebie jeebies……

  56. Just curious: What exactly is bad about “Friends” – the picture, not the TV show?

    The last four, especially, are . . . uniquely revolting, but I don’t shudder when looking at the first one – and I like the second one.

  57. Wow. I’d say “singularly awful”, but I don’t think you can use that term to describe 6 different items. I think I’ll just stick to “wow”.

    @CMS: I love Minerva Teichert’s work. I own a large “Christ in a Red Robe”, framed.

    I like her work for a number of reasons — the line, the composition, the wonderful colors — but I especially like that her characters are unabashedly, unapologetically American. There’s no pretending that it’s what Jesus really looked like. No pretense of resurrecting Christ in painting medium. Love it.

    @RAY: I find “Friends” cloying, insipid — another, in a long line of emasculating “Jesus as my best friend” paintings. I think the palette is uninspired, and I think Jesus looks like he could use a bath. That’s my 30 second gut reaction.

  58. Of these, I find “Come unto Me” to be the least offensive. The model is attractive, but not overtly. His face shows a certain amount of earnestness. The painting has a sense of movement and urgency. The palette is engaging, if a little cliché.

    And Jesus looks like he’s bathed recently.

  59. Do you think Tina Fey got her character’s name on “30 Rock” from Liz Lemon Swindle? Maybe she’s a closet bad Mormon art fan!

  60. Silus Grok, why is it emasculating to Jesus to imagine Him as “my best friend”? There’s a similar picture that I like quite a bit.

    I think it makes Him accessible and conveys that He truly does care about each individual.

  61. I have no idea what the cultural bathing practices were back in 30 AD, but I’m guessing most people didn’t bathe on a daily basis. I’m guessing that included Jesus.

    Just sayin…

  62. Brad- You left out my favorite Jesus…stalker Jesus, here:

  63. re # 49 — great comment DKL. You put that nicely into words. I had the same reaction but you’ve expressed it better.

    cms, there are so many. I second the recommendation of Bloch. But there are a lot of masters who have portrayed Jesus.

    Actually, looking at these I realize the Del Parsons’ Jesus is a perfectly fine option. I simply can’t imagine having Jesus Wept in my house.

  64. Brian, #62, man that was funny. Check out the juggler.

  65. Okay, #62 takes the “Jesus as my best friend” theme a little too far . . .

  66. #62: cf. #41

  67. Man, Jesus wept (before clicking on the larger image) looks pretty creepy. No . . . clicking on it is still creepy.

    Also, what corporate office was able to snag Jesus as a spokes person? Good on billboards, I guess. “Market with us. Jesus works for us!”

  68. Interesting, Silus. I see Jesus talking individually with a child as totally consistent with one of the central messages of the Gospels.

    Also, nothing in the picture says word one about “best friend”. It simply says “friends”. I don’t see anything cloying, insipid or emasculating about that. With whom would you rather see him talking in a painting – or would you prefer the child be ugly?

  69. Bro. Jones says:

    “Love of My Soul” for the win. It evokes spiritual feelings of righteous indignation.

    Seriously, I wonder how we’d all react if the Church decided suddenly to add to the current canon of approved art, and added all of these (besides “Friends,” which is cute). “Love of My Soul” in every Primary classroom! :barf:

  70. After looking at these fatuous images, I can’t help but feel that they all violate the “virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy” part of the 13th Article of Faith, in spirit if not in fact.

    Mergers & Acquisitions Jesus and Tuxedo Jesus are especially revolting (but they’re all pretty bad).

  71. Justin, sorry about that — I saw your comment but hadn’t clicked on the link.

  72. SLK, those two aren’t by LDS artists, so there’s that.

  73. I saw #5 as trying to say that we should act as Christ does in business dealings.

    I don’t find that message revolting, though I’m not a fan of the painting.

  74. Which was stirs my soul? None. . . They are all pretty bad.

  75. re # 73, I’m not sure Jesus is or ever would be driven by profit motive. Having said that, the law context is a little better than a strictly business context as Jesus would certainly be an effective advocate — and one that would be ethical in all his legal dealings.

  76. john f (#72) – That’s good to know…

    SilverRain (#73) – That’s one valid message that can be taken from painting no. 5… but there are others that I find less, um, inspiring. At any rate, it scores a huge fail for me as art qua art.

  77. These pictures are amazing!!

    I wonder if they traced, or if they drew ’em free-hand. I bet traced.

  78. Gag. And double gag for the “Senior Partner.”

  79. Coffinberry says:

    All these visual portrayals would leave the average viewer confused on encountering the hymn text “with no apparent beauty that man should him desire,” which itself draws on the scripture text of Isaiah.

    But I think Millenial Star talked about this back in April or so, no?

  80. I voted for “senior partner” for the funny factor. Lover of my soul creeped me out.

    (Also, lol @ the comment about white shirts.)

  81. SilverRain, just how would Christ act in a business setting? My guess is that He’d be a terrible businessman.

  82. Steve Evans says:

    Negotiations with Christ:

    me: We want $5,000,000 for Brand X
    Jesus: OK. And I love you.
    me: thanks! I love you, too.

  83. By the way, this is how business is supposed to work:

  84. huh. I had never thought of “vomiting a little in my mouth” as a spiritual feeling before. But now that I’ve seen “Lover of My Soul,” and I did just that, but everyone knows it’s impossible NOT to feel the spirit as long as the artist had pure intentions…

  85. Steve, so I guess it wouldn’t be that bad after all. Unless he’s wearing his Old Testament hat.

  86. Ray, #68:

    It’s not simply that he’s talking to the child. There are a million ways you could portray Jesus as talking to a child that would be fine. But look at the posture of Jesus. Look at the glowy light surrounding them, look at the curly headed cherub playing with its toes. That’s not art Ray, it’s manipulation administered with a sledgehammer. That’s why it’s bad.

  87. re # 86, and do we really think Jesus looked like that?

  88. StillConfused says:

    I had someone tell me yesterday that I wasn’t Mormon enough. So maybe I need to start having a different Jesus. Thanks for the options.

  89. Awesome, gst.

  90. Steve, I’m baffled by your portrayal of Jesus as a businessmen. Not only is it insulting to Jewish businessmen in general, but it really doesn’t capture Jesus’s true spirit. It would be more like this:

    me: We want $5,000,000 for Brand X
    Jesus: Oh, ye brood of vipers
    me: OK. How ’bout $4,000,000?
    Jesus: Whited sepulcher!
    me: OK. How ’bout $3,000,000?
    Jesus: Wicked generation of hypocrites!
    me: OK. How ’bout $1
    Jesus: [Looks up to heaven] Forgive him, Father, for he knows not what he does. [Looks at you] Deal!

  91. gst, that’s pretty much the best portrayal of business that I know of.

  92. Steve Evans says:

    No DKL, it would be more like this:

    me: I want $5,000,000 for Brand X.
    Jesus: render unto Caesar.
    me: I don’t know what that means.
    Jesus: make ye friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.
    me: done.

  93. Latter-day Guy says:

    Jesus Wept Got Stoned. Also, Lover of My Soul was just deeply, deeply creepy.

  94. None. Still waiting. Brian Kershisnik comes closest for me in his “Nativity.”

  95. #86 – I guess I’ve seen too many children who glow – and I guess I’ve seen too many children ignored by adults – and I guess I’ve seen too many sad and soul-weary children – etc.

    The question asked about spiritual feelings, not artisitic quality. I like the message of “Friends” – and I didn’t look closely at the artistic qualities in order to dissect them. I guess I’m just easily manipulated and don’t mind being beaten with a sledgehammer, because I like that picture.

  96. no more haiku here?
    left out Aragorn Jesus
    options incomplete

  97. Mark Brown says:

    This so-called artwork
    makes the baby Jesus cry.
    I can haz cartoonz?

  98. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Re: I like this one by Roger Loveless; it hangs on the wall in my Kitchen/Diningroom.

    It’s Captain Picard doing a passion play.

  99. @Margaret Blair Young: I love Kershisnik’s “Nativity”. I have a large, framed print of it that I hang in my home for Christmas. A very, very moving representation.

    @Ray: MCQ nails it, pretty well. To which I’ll add the following: in addition to being manipulative, that image plays the “best buddy Jesus” to a fault. Christ is many things, among them, a dear friend. But as an adult, my friendships don’t look like that painting. It’s simplistic and condescending. Christ isn’t a buddy, he’s a God. The closest example to how I feel about this painting is how I feel about parents who try to be their child’s friend. Parentship isn’t friendship. This painting is a cheap and shallow emotional ploy — not to mention a brittle metaphor.

  100. Those are all vaguely to outright disturbing. Unless the spirit is evoking a turning feeling in my stomach, none of them qualify.

  101. Steve Evans and DKL, you are going to HELL!

    But I guess I laughed…… so, see you there.

  102. Friends is nice. I can deal with that one.

    By the way, I’ve loved all the other suggestions people have linked to. I was creeped out by the Jesus with a Harem of Girls, and Stalker Jesus just made me laugh.

  103. These are creepy.

    I’m a big fan of Carl Bloch, but there is some Russian religious art that is really good. Two of my favorite examples are:

    Christ and the Adulteress by Vasily Polenov
    Russian Museum: Vasily Polenov. Christ and the Adulteress (Who is Sinless?) (1888)


    Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane by V.G Perov

    This is the most scripturally accurate portrayal of Christ in Gethsemane I have seen, because it protrays Christ having fallen on his face.

  104. Hello: Jesus was JEWISH.

    Not watered down modern Jewish from living for centuries in places like Poland and can look like any European. But genuine middle east Jewish.

    So I presume that if I worshipped some of the old Norse Gods, Odin maybe….. Except the guy in each of these pictures looks too much like a Hippie to me.

    Give me a Black Jesus anytime over these. At least, then it is obvious that we are making Jesus look like one of us so we can maybe better relate to him.

  105. Unknown Title Jesus used to hang in our Relief Society, and was sometimes referred to as “sexy Jesus.” Then the Relief Society presidency changed, and sexy Jesus has not been seen since…

  106. So I guess we simply disagree, Silus. Sure he’s a God, but he was a man – and he explicitly said, “Suffer the children to come unto me.”

    I don’t see “best buddy” in the picture. I see a man enjoying being with a child – and not in the creepy way #6 portrays. The friendships of many good people I’ve seen with children often do look like that picture, right down to the glow. Call me naive and simplistic and unsophisticated and manipulated, but I cherish my own friendships with children that look like that – private, kind of shiny moments when I have felt true joy in the presence of a child.

    We disagree. That’s obvious – obvious enough that it’s not worth discussing further.

  107. Thank you for giving me several new reasons to prefer the timelessness and spirituality (as opposed to sentimentality) of Eastern Orthodox icons

  108. “I guess I’ve seen too many children ignored by adults – and I guess I’ve seen too many sad and soul-weary children”

    “I cherish my own friendships with children that look like that – private, kind of shiny moments when I have felt true joy in the presence of a child. ”

    I now see why you like that painting Ray. Cheap emotional manipulation can be done in paint or in words. Nice job.

  109. Peter LLC says:

    Cheap emotional manipulation can be done in paint or in words. Nice job.

    MCQ–come for the art lesson, stay for the kick in the nuts.

  110. or Ohio/touchdown/apostasy/big butter Jesus (The following article has before and during the fire pictures.)

    Apparently, God didn’t like it much, either.

  111. Love you, too, MCQ. Shocked at the kick to the groin, but love you, anyway. I really do like and respect you, and I really am stunned at the nut-crushing.

    Sorry if that also was cheap manipulation. Wasn’t meant to be, but I guess I just can’t help it.

  112. I personally dislike any pictures of the Saviour. None have given me any kind of spiritual feeling when I have viewed or even studied them.

    I also find it perplexing that we have so much of it. Not too long ago it was thought of as disrespectful, even blasphemic to show His face in movies such as Ben Hur and other Biblical epics of the 1950/60’s

  113. John D – I agree. As for the movies, I’m sure you know how that all changed with the non-Second Coming of Jeffrey “I was a teenage Jesus” Hunter.


  114. 113.
    Even this?

  115. Thanks, everybody – I haven’t laughed this much since ‘Barfing for Jesus’ ! Was also truly appalled by the Cyrus family portrait.

  116. Mommie Dearest says:

    Looks like Jesus with a cute little kid is the clear winner for Least Offensive.

    Ray, this is for you:

    Or this one:

    Or these:

    Oh heck, here’s the whole trove:,13_Blessing_Children_Enfants_Benediction/index.html


  117. Thanks for the links, MD – even though I didn’t like the pictures, by and large.

  118. In all fairness to the painters, they probably just weren’t cloying, cheaply emotional and manipulative enough.

  119. Mommie Dearest says:


    I have my highfalutin artistic taste which I make no apologies for. But on the other hand (I am cursed with a talent for observing that other hand) I wonder about the relative importance of having highly cultivated taste in the eternal scheme of things. I have a great fondness for the aesthetics of some dear friends and relatives who don’t know Leonardo da Vinci from Leonardo Dicaprio, but they definitely know good from evil.

  120. WOW talk about illustrating the very meaning and problem with the graven image!

  121. Mommie Dearest says:

    Dan, I don’t understand what you mean.

  122. Ray, just ignore Peter. He’s just taking pot shots because he has nothing better to do. Falling for his BS is the real manipulation.

  123. Peter LLC says:

    Ray, just ignore Peter.

    I’m actually the author of a little-known series of self-help books in which I emphasize this principle as the foundation of a happy and fulfilling internet existence. Alas, many have yet to take this counsel to heart.

  124. I like a lot of Carl Bloch’s work and I have Minerva Teichert’s Christ In A Red Robe in our house. But no thanks to all those other Sexy Arian Jesus paintings out there – for all the reasons posted above.

  125. 115 – That makes me smile!

  126. To the Max says:

    I have never much liked the idea of Jesus depicted in any sort of painting, sculpture, etc. I once saw the Savior depicted as a boxer and it occurred to me that once we think of God in terms of his “humanness” does it really matter much whether we think of Him as boxer or “daddy in heaven” as one of the young women called him in her testimony last month? Is Jesus as boxer any less a valid view of Him than Jesus as cuddly and understanding listener to our prayers, or Jesus as slayer of evildoers? Isn’t He (at least for most of us) nothing more than a reflection of who we want or think He ought to be? Since most of us have never seen God and have no idea who He is apart from what other people tell us He is, He is, for us, nothing more than what we imagine him to be. He is a creation of our imagination, as opposed to who He really is. When one confronts the problems that arise through thinking of God in human terms, one begins to understand the traditional Christain adversion to imagining God as anything other than a formless spirit that fills the universe and yet is tiny enough to enter a man’s heart.

  127. Thomas Parkin says:

    In Southern California I was once given a pamphlet by a group called Surfing for Jesus. On its front was a picture of Jesus surfing, and contained this: What will Jesus do when He returns to Earth? He will be shredding, just like you!

  128. #128 – But I don’t shred. Maybe He’ll just sit around the house all day playing Halo instead?

  129. Adam Greenwood says:

    I didn’t vote. All of these paintings inspired deep feelings in me of righteous wrath.

  130. Latter-day Guy says:

    127, I dunno, I kind of liked Cowboy Jesus at the end of The Backslider, even though I’ve never found the cowboy ethos particularly appealing.

  131. Well, I was going to ad some vicious comments about these bizarre paintings but everyone else beat me to it. Didn’t vote either, I am completely out of tune with the artist, and I want to keep it that way.

  132. Come on, didn’t you like Dental Assistant and French Horn from the jesusisalwayswithyou website that Justin linked, at least a little?

  133. (That was a question for Adam, # 130.)

  134. My favorite is Welder. The message I get from it is, “Not like that, moron! Move your elbow, or so help me, I’m just going to shove you right into that… that… thing. Okay, you suck. I can’t tell what you’re trying to make, and I’m omniscient!!!”

  135. C’mon, people, coy Jesus from “unknown title” does nothing but inspire me to be more glamorous.

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