The Consejo General de Hermandades y Confradías de Sevilla, the body in charge of regulating Holy Week processions in Seville, presented, on January 27, a controversial work by the artist Salustiano Garcia as a propaganda poster for that year’s Holy Week.
The representation of an androgynous Christ, with effeminate features, was a cause for protest. In just over 2 days, people for whom the work “does not represent in any way the Faith, Christian Values, tradition and religious fervor of this City” obtained more than 10 thousand signatures requesting the immediate removal of the poster, considered blasphemous.
The controversial image is expected to be distributed soon throughout the city, in places such as churches, stores, cafes, where Holy Week posters are usually displayed. It is also expected that the poster will be used on social networks and other media to promote one of the most important and popular religious festivals in the city of Seville.
The mayor of Seville and the painter defend the poster
Among the defenders of the poster are the author himself – who used his son as a model – and the mayor of Seville, José Luis Sanz. The mayor declared that the poster pleases him because it is “different, courageous and risky” is that “Holy Week posters cannot be the same or the same every year.”
The painter Salustiano García, in turn, defended his work in an interview with ABC Sevilla:
“What surprised me in all this controversy is the politicization of a work of art, saying that it belongs to this or that party, or to this or that sexual tendency. As if my painting was leftist. It’s something absurd, silly”, says the painter.
Mockery of the sacred
In an article titled Jesus Christ was not effeminate, published in the Spanish periodical La Gaceta de la iberosfera, Spanish journalist and writer, Jaume Vives, commented on the poster and the artist who created it:
“I don’t think I’m being too harsh if I say that, objectively, the work sucks. It could work for Pride Week, but not for Easter. And not because of the cloth, which I see no problem with. The image represents an effeminate Christ (mainly due to the position of his hand) and with a face that shocks due to its sinister nature.
Seeing this dung, one might think that Christ drove the merchants out of the temple with his purse, but no, he did it with whips. And Christ was a very virile man, forgive the redundancy. Virile, masculine and with a lot of character, as all the documentation at our disposal attests. Painting it as the author of the poster did is a lack of rigor, good taste and talent. […]
This Salustian has a fixation on strange things. He likes to paint children smoking, boys with knives, dressed as girls, with sinister looks, even reading The Eleven Thousand Cocks by Guillaume Apollinaire, a work in which the protagonist’s multiple and grotesque sexual adventures are described in detail.
In another painting titled Pentecost, a child holds a cup and a cookie in his hand. It is not difficult to see in him again the mockery of the sacred.
It also has a line of adult drawings that appear with children’s water pistols. And the question I always have when faced with these types of authors is: if they are normal, why do they try so hard to look like pedophiles who practice all kinds of orgies with children? […]
Returning to our point, it would be a wise move to consign the poster to the dustbin of history and commission a new one that would allow the faithful to pray and would be equally attractive to the pagan to see the savior of the world represented on it.”
“Not even his wounds were respected”
I invited professor Dr. Ricardo da Costa, from the Department of Theory and Art at UFES and an academic abroad at the Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres in Barcelona, to give his opinion on the subject. Here is his reflection:
“Although the Catholic Church, since its beginnings, has always been to some extent influenced by the world, it has managed to keep its theology intact. Until the 20th century. Until the 1960s, a period in which the West underwent profound ruptures and transformations that gave rise to fragile, sensitive, feminine societies, known as “post-modernity”.
When we turned the clock and reached the 21st century, a step forward was taken. Never has the Church retreated so much from its convictions. The more you adapt to the world, the more you adhere to these weaknesses and delicacies. But he distances himself from his faithful.
In the case of “Christ of Seville 2024”, homoeroticism reached the representation of the Son of God. Eyebrows done, lipstick on the lips, hips exposed, the image owes nothing to the Greek ephebes of Antiquity. Not even his wounds were respected: the artist made an allusion to the hands of Michelangelo’s “David” just to make a gentle allusion that He suffered to save the world, which Barabbas preferred.
Although Christ was already stylized in the Baroque, represented with more delicate forms, the Church largely kept His suffering in the foreground. Today, the “Consejo General de Hermandades y Cofradías de Sevilla” has definitely prostrated itself to the world. To the detriment of the faith of the Catholic faithful. It is the last step in undermining the institution.”
Professor Ricardo da Costa sent me his text above via WhatsApp. When saying goodbye, he commented: “Between us: meanwhile, Islam conquers Europe. It’s the world.”