Monday, June 04, 2012

A bit of Victorian "blasphemy."

To go along with the earlier post on blasphemy law, a little look at 19th century tweaking of sensibilities.

Christ In The House Of His Parents by John Everett Millais (1850)

It is an interesting painting. It comes from near the start of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It sparked horror and disgust (including for respected artist like Charles Dickens) in many people. It gives us "the holy family" of saints and deity as all too human, wounded, worn down, and flawed. It is a very real image. And add to that the vision of young Jesus with stigmata.

Charles Dickens on the horror of Mary's "ugliness":
"She would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest gin-shop in England."
Guess that's why he's a writer and not a painter. But, really, the disgust was shared by many. I can only imagine if this painting was done today, Bill Donohue would be on Hardball and FOX News denouncing it, for challenging his thinking.

1 comment:

Goetz Kluge said...

There perhaps are some surprises hidden in Millais' "Carpenter's Shop". I think, Millais quited from (among others) a 16th century anti papal propaganda painting - and from other paintings to. And it was the message rather then plagiarism. Millais was a great and smart artist.