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‘Astonishingly realistic’ Jesus winds up in Muslim hands

‘Astonishingly realistic’ Jesus winds up in Muslim hands

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (Christ the Saviour of the World) sold in auction in America in December 2017 for $450.3-m – and Catholics are now reportedly dismayed because it was bought by a Muslim.

The National Catholic Register reports that the half portrait of “an astonishingly realistic Jesus Christ gazing straight at the viewer” was painted in about 1500, and that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman financed the purchase.

The NCR’s Victor Gaetan writes:

In a dubious turn, the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC now denies the crown prince’s direct involvement, claiming his cousin purchased it for the United Arab Emirates.

Either way, Christian devotional paintings such as Salvator Mundi are forbidden by sharia (Islamic law) and illegal in Saudi Arabia. The prospect of the Saudi elite controlling this treasure should bring dismay to those who comprehend what truly makes the work priceless.

Gaetan adds that the painting took over six years to restore. The restoration included the removal of “an awkward beard and facial hair”, and that:

Renaissance artists like Leonardo, virtually all Catholic, painted Christ to emphasize his humanity underscoring their conviction that God lives in us – that creativity, and the pursuit of knowledge, is evidence of the divine in humanity.

Ahem!

According to the World Union of Deists, Marco Rosci’s biography, Leonardo, notes that the almost certainly gay Leonardo:

Adopted an empirical approach to every thought, opinion, and action and accepted no truth unless verified or verifiable, whether related to natural phenomena, human behavior, or social activities.

Leonardo himself wrote:

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.

All that aside, Gaetan writes:

If such a religious painting of Christ was found today in Saudi Arabia, it could be confiscated and destroyed as illegal, along with Bibles and rosary beads.
Those who try to convert to Christianity from Islam risk public execution.

Catholic guest workers in Saudi Arabia – and there are millions – are denied places of worship since churches are forbidden, which is a major reason the Holy See has no diplomatic relations with the country.

He adds:

That’s what makes the news that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bought the painting through close friend, distant cousin and Saudi officeholder, Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud ironic and distressing.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, right.

The branch of Islam dominant in the Kingdom is Wahhabism, which is closely linked to the ideology of most extremist factions in the Muslim world. When the Islamic State group (ISIS) blew up cathedrals and churches in Iraq and Syria and murdered and kidnapped priests and Christian believers, they did it in the name of Islam.

It’s impossible to think Saudi clerics approve of Salman’s extravagant purchase since they forbid the depiction of Prophet Mohammed or his prophet-messengers, of whom Jesus is considered one.

It’s fair to ask if Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi is even safe in the possession of a Saudi ruler, particularly this one.

We can hope Jesus Christ as Saviour of the World is well protected and continues to move, change and transfix new viewers.

Still, it is worrisome to see a Catholic treasure transferred to war-bent rulers in Christophobic territory.

23 responses to “‘Astonishingly realistic’ Jesus winds up in Muslim hands”

  1. Darn It says:

    “an astonishingly realistic Jesus Christ” . WTF … how can that be when many historians actually concluded that jesus never actually existed? What a load of tosh … and good luck to the idiot arab who paid all that money for something so bogus.

  2. Marcus says:

    The saviour of mankind really, REALLY should not have posed for a portrait on New Year’s Day when he was so clearly the worse for wear after an all-nighter at Bethlehem’s only gay bar.

  3. Dianne Leonard says:

    “Astonishingly realistic”, huh? Well the guy looks like a northern Italian, not like a Palestinian. I guess that’s “realistic” in catholic eyes–they want you to think Jesus ( *if* he existed at all–which is not certain) looked European. I’ve seen “portraits” of him w/ blue eyes & blond hair. The drawing of a generic first century Jewish Palestinian with dark hair, eyes, skin, and beard is more likely. I guess people like their gods to look like upper-class people from their own country, not one of those Others (ahem.)

  4. barriejohn says:

    I am assuming that by “astonishingly realistic” they mean as a representation of a generic male rather than of “Jesus” himself. They couldn’t be THAT stupid, could they? But the twaddle about “the viewer finds another perfect triangle by mentally sketching a line above Christ’s eyes and two more from the point of his outer eyes down to his chin” really is evidence of clutching at straws. I mean to say, that couldn’t possibly apply to any other painting of a human face, could it? Anyway, it’s a very poor relation to this masterpiece:

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2012/08/24/spanish-pensioner-makes-a-monkey-out-of-jesus/

    Happy New Year everybody!

  5. Broga says:

    Why would anyone want that dreary painting of a bored looking man? I just don’t get the painting thing. I remember some years ago a man with more money than sense spent £millions on a painting by a great artist. He was thrilled at possessing the painting and his delight and pride lasted for years.

    Then an art expert discovered that the painting was a brilliant fake and so clever was the fake that special techniques had to be employed to confirm the expert’s opinion. On confirmation the value of the painting was reduced by £zillions. I like paintings I like and I don’t care who paints them.

  6. L.Long says:

    realistic jesus??? BS! It looks like a silly royal doing a crystal ball reading!

  7. Stuart H. says:

    Catholics are worried that a valuable painting depicting their fictitious friend ended up in the hands of an Arab dictator?
    Vatican didn’t have the same problem when they helped Nazis hide and sell art stolen from Jews, did they?

  8. Rob Andrews says:

    nice clothes for a peasant carpenter. Of course he looks like a northern Italian noble or merchant..That’s probably who commissioned it.

    Ya get what you pay for!

    @Stuart H:
    I think many Xtians are afraid it could be destroyed in some kind of conservative backlash by Muslim clerics. That thought occurred to me

  9. Jobrag says:

    Of course if the painting is so compelling and so realistic any Muslim looking at it will convert immediately to Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism. All RCs should be rejoicing that such an important Saudi was involved in the purchase.

  10. Robster says:

    Twenty Eighteen’s only 10 minutes old and already we have a contender for Oxymoron Of The Year, “Realistic Jesus”.Competition just got difficult.

  11. Stephen Mynett says:

    Hopefully they will have paid millions for an “original” Tom Keating, he was an artist I liked.

  12. Darn It says:

    If you want to see realistic jesus see the blank Comment Box below.

  13. Brian Jordan says:

    An astonishingly realistic first draft of the Mona Lisa, more like.

  14. StephenJP says:

    Looks a bit like Dustin Hoffman in drag.

    I understand that the painting has been extensively restored over the years – so much so, that many people doubt that much original Leonardo is left. Anyway, whoever did it seems to have overpainted the spliff in his right hand.

  15. barriejohn says:

    StephenJP: I wonder whether the eyes follow you around the room?

    https://youtu.be/wejNjdPndLI

  16. StephenJP says:

    barriejohn: thank you, what a classic! And also “Have you seen that Leonardo cartoon? Couldn’t see the joke, myself”.

    Actually, if you look at the image really closely, it seems to be slightly cross-eyed. Must be something to do with that missing spliff.

  17. barriejohn says:

    StephenJP: He does look a bit like John Lennon to me, but maybe he originally had a cigar in his hand!

    https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.rbIkdNLDmeLnnOYFQPQKZQHaHl&pid=15.1

  18. StephenJP says:

    Ah, Rab JC Nesbitt, I presume!

  19. barriejohn says:

    Hamlet cigars, actually. Do you go back that far?

    For anyone unfamiliar with that classic ad:

    https://youtu.be/xbdxm8Ia0Wc

    I think the “real Jesus” would have been on something far more potent than tobacco!

  20. StephenJP says:

    Oh crumbs, yes of course!

    I went for Cafe Creme myself, back in those distant days when I thought smoking little cigars was cool. I agree that JC’s spliffs must have contained something stronger. Lebanese Red, maybe?

  21. barriejohn says:

    I must be getting old – I don’t they even make adverts worth watching any more!

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