The Gesturing Ghost
Last May I had the opportunity, while in London, to visit the National Gallery. Loving art, and being with two of my sons – one of whom is an art major - I was excited to spend hours there. I loved the Van Gogh, the Monet, the Rembrandt paintings and more. But there was one massive disappointment. No, it was more than disappointment. Massive frustration. I did not see one portrait of Christ, in all the famous works of him, that came anywhere close to depicting Jesus as he really is. Not one. They are all of a wispy, pale Jesus, looking haunted, a ghostlike figure floating along through life making strange gestures and undecipherable statements.
The Nativity scenes were particularly ridiculous.The classic art depicting the infant—themes now repeated on Christmas cards and in the crèche scenes displayed in churches and on suburban coffee tables—portrays a rather mature baby, very white, radiantly clean as no baby is ever clean, arms outstretched to reassure the nervous adults around him, intelligent, without need, halo glowing, conscious with an adult consciousness. Superbaby. This infant clearly never pooped his diapers. He looks ready to take up the prime ministership.
Why did it make me angry?
Because when we lose his personality, we lose Jesus.