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