Who is Jesus 2

By The Warner Sallman collection from: and’sJesus.htm, Fair use,

Here’s the second image for you to consider: Who is Jesus?

Remember to look at the image first. Spend some time really looking at the image, the face, and the background. How does the image make you feel? What questions does it raise? Do you think it’s a good representation of Jesus, and if so what attributes do you feel the artist is trying to portray? You may wish to write some of your thoughts down.

Here’s the link:

Not dissimilar to Holman Hunt’s depiction is Warner Sallman’s 1940 painting Head of Christ. We’re sure you’ve seen this one. It is estimated to have been reproduced over half a billion times worldwide, from framed copies for church walls to wallet-sized prayer cards for devotional use. Stephen Prothero has said Sallman’s painting has “become the basis for the visualization of Jesus for hundreds of millions of people.”7 We call it the bearded-lady Jesus. Flowing blond locks swept back from the face, high cheekbones, groomed eyebrows, full lips, with heavenward gazing, gentle eyes—he’s beautiful, isn’t he? David Morgan, a professor of religion at Duke University, reflects on the androgynous nature of the portrait, saying, “for many Christians during the Cold War, Sallman’s portrait did symbolize a virile, manly Christ, while for others it embodied a more intimate and nurturing Jesus, a personal saviour for modern times.”8 But is this a valid biblical representation of Jesus? Or is this a mere fantasy object for an overly sentimental, cultural Christianity? This is the inoffensive Messiah, clean and tidy, pleasing to the eye. This is no disturber of our souls. This image of Jesus reflects a spirituality that is anchored in an adoration of the wonderful Christ, the unattainable Jesus. Warner Sallman’s version of Jesus exudes an abstracted serenity, gentleness, and peace. And yet the Jesus we meet in the Gospels is at times frustrated, disappointed, annoyed and, worse still, angered. He is full of holy pathos. He exasperated his rivals, unsettled his friends, and drove his enemies mad. Says Alison Morgan, “Jesus was a difficult and uncooperative revolutionary who so threatened the established order of the day that there seemed to be no option but to have him executed.”9 Is the man in the pictures we’ve described such a spiritual revolutionary?”

Frost, Michael; Hirsch, Alan. ReJesus: Remaking the Church in Our Founder’s Image [Revised & Updated Edition] (p. 60). 100 Movements Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I’ll send the next image soon…