As a lifelong practicing Catholic, art aficionado, and history buff, I always have a great appreciation for religious art, architecture, music, and movies. Well, just as long as I find them to be of great artistic quality and not something that looks like you can put it on somebody’s T-Shirt. Quality religious art has always been greatly influential in our modern culture whether it’s the great Madonna and Child paintings from the Renaissance, large intricate Gothic cathedrals from the Middle Ages, sacred hymns, and a lot of religious films of the 1950s. I mean Ben Hur might’ve starred Charlton Heston but you have to enjoy the chariot race scene. I can go on and on about the great religious masterworks but that would be a very long post since it would involve scores and scores of paintings and sculptures you’re already familiar with. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the great blunders that would make everyone wonder why God hadn’t unleashed His wrath on the artist in the first place. Yet, since this is about bad religious artworks, here are a few points to follow.
1. This isn’t a post that shows anti-religious artwork or anything that’s intentionally depicted as sacrilegious. In fact, much of the works were done by religious artists themselves but they just didn’t seem to depict the true spirit of the religious subjects that they’re either tacky or unintentionally funny. Examples include, crapsaccharine mentality, bad artistic representation, or images that in some way don’t make any sense.
2. This isn’t an anti-religious post, just a post of bad religious expression in art. Rather, as a Catholic, I don’t see anything wrong with making fun of religion as long as it’s not offensive. Since religious art plays a critical role in our culture, I see nothing wrong with mocking the tacky pieces.
3. This isn’t a post depicting religious artwork used for an amusing purpose or has the equivalent of Jesus being depicted in a Batman suit, a celebrity in an iconographic image or a dog version of The Last Supper. I know these exist but they were supposed to be funny on purpose. These works shown in this post were initially intended to be taken seriously as well as catered to an audience.
4. These aren’t artworks with religious motifs or symbolism in otherwise secular works.
5. These are mostly done by contemporary artists since I can’t bring myself to criticize the great masterpieces of religious art during the Renaissance and Baroque Era unless it’s Abraham trying to sacrifice Isaac with a blunderbuss to his head. Yet, I haven’t found this one yet.
6. Yes, most of these works derive from Christianity yet that’s because many Christian artworks tend to be the worst offenders. Basically if Christians are willing to depict Jesus in a business suit, I’ll practically run with it. I’m also willing to post Jesus with a gun.
7. Some of these would have quotes as to what the artist intended for this work to mean, which aren’t in my own words.
8. This doesn’t include bad restoration work so the lady who made Jesus look like a monkey is off the hook.
So without further adieu, here is an assortment of kitschy religious artwork.
1. Leaping Jesus on the cross talking to the women of Jerusalem.
2. Jesus rising out of his tomb body and spirit.
3. “It seems obvious that if Jesus were to shock the status quo in the 21st century with a tattoo that it would say ‘Father.'”
4. “The anguish that God experiences while His children are abused is the cumulative experience of all the abused children since the beginning of time compressed into one eternal moment.”
5. Jesus during story time at school.
6. Jesus at the United Nations.
7. Just a still life of Christian imagery.
8. Jesus at the Liberty Bell.
9. Jesus is always the senior business partner. “Christ’s presence is an integral part of daily life, no matter one’s profession or calling.”