Crucified Obama painting

Art is often controversial, and a new painting on display in a Boston community college gallery is causing quite a stir.

The painting, titled “Truth,” features President Obama with outstretched arms and a crown of thorns on his head. Many say the painting crosses the line because of its allusions to Christ’s crucifixion, but painter Michael D’Antuono says it’s not meant to be religious.

D’Antuono told Fox News, “The crucifixion of the president was meant metaphorically. My intent was not to compare him to Jesus.”

Despite the recent outrage, the painting is actually four-years-old. D’Antuono painted the image back in 2009 to commemorate the President’s first 100 days in office, but public criticism forced him to rethink including it in an exhibit.

“I always regretted cancelling my exhibit in New York because I feel my First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings,” he said. “We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”

D’Antuono said the Boston exhibit allowed him “the ability to right a wrong.”

Despite crucifixion being a widespread method of execution from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, it is most commonly associated with Jesus Christ, a reason Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Right, has a problem with D’Antuono’s painting.

“What makes this display so interesting is the flat denial of truth by so many artists and academicians, as well as their irrepressible hostility to Christianity,” he writes. “Yet when it comes to their savior, President Obama, they not only pivot, they proselytize.”

D’Antuono pushes back against this line of attack, accusing conservative media of trying “to promote the idea that liberals believe the president to literally be our savior.”

Despite the controversy, the painting is being shown and D’Antuono hopes that those who disagree with his depiction respect his First Amendment rights.

Speaking of the angry emails he received regarding the painting, “I accepted that it is their right to express themselves and hope that they now see it in their hearts to afford me the same right.”

What do you think? 

*Photo via Fox News

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  • LemonNLime

    “Many say the painting crosses the line because of its allusions to Christ’s crucifixion,”

    UGH I know this isn’t PC but I really wish religious people would just shut up every once in a while. Seriously, not everyone subscribes to Judeo-Christian values. If you don’t like the picture (or gay marriage or abortion or whatever else they constantly complain about) then don’t look at it, purchase it, or do it.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    For a lot of folks nothing is sacred anymore or never was
    It is one thing to have an opinion, be it unpopular like tryong to follow ALL Christ teachings, and another thing all together to totally disrespect someone’s spiritual views and beliefs by depicting blasphemous images etc. SMH

    • mEE

      I get that…but crucifiction was around before and after Jesus. remember there were two thieves on crosses right next to him. your background/culture/religious affiliation (and mine as well) cause you to see someone being a crucified and automatically make a connection to Jesus. nothing wrong with that but that isn’t everyone’s pov

    • Mademoiselle

      I was just going to make this same point!

    • cabugs

      Your comment really made me think because my immediate reaction was to agree with OSHH. Your point is very valid – crucifixion did indeed exist before and after Christ and like the artist said, his art could be meant metaphorically, and not necessarily in allusion to Christ. However, I am pretty sure the only historical figure we know about who was crucified specifically with a “crown of thorns” on his head was Jesus Christ. I know others were crucified, but I haven’t heard about any having a crown of thorns. And the crown of thorns we know was meant as a mockery of Christ proclaiming himself king of the jews. Here in this depiction, there is no cross; just the crown of thorns. But then again…I think people would crucify (pun intended) this guy even more if there was an actual cross being as it is the most visible and recognizable symbol of Christianity today. So in conclusion, all I am saying is I see how both your points are very valid, but I am probably leaning more towards OSHH’s perspective. Fact is, whether we like it or not, certain symbolism and imagery is almost inherently tied to Christianity based on its teachings and happenings and of course, people will always find ways to be controversial. People will always find something to be offended and up in arms about also. He has the right to paint whatever he wants, yes. I’m pretty sure we have the right to complain and be up in arms about it too…so I’m glad we’re doing it here right now in a civil manner.

  • radd

    for the record. It has been my screen saver for over a week.