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Regardless of how you feel about religion, you can't deny that it has given us some of the greatest art of all time. Think about the pressure it puts on an artist -- Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling knowing that he was trying to capture the most absolute expression of beauty, creation and perfection imaginable.

It's really easy to get this kind of painting wrong. Terribly, hilariously wrong.

11
The Introduction by Nathan Greene

Nathan Greene
Note how Eve's naked body seems to have been airbrushed green.

The Intended Meaning:

As the artist puts it:

"The Introduction is a stunning portrayal of that first moment of man's special blessing from God. A brand new world sparkles and vibrates with color and movement as Adam and Eve gaze with a wonder and tenderness to set the standard for all time."

Well, that's a noble idea. The Adam and Eve story is a tale of discovery, and innocence lost. A painting of that scenario didn't have to be ridiculous, but this one was anyway.

The Actual Meaning:

First of all, the artist clearly put a lot of thought into what objects to use to cover everyone's genitalia, Austin Powers-style, then discarded those thoughts and said, "Screw it, I'll just put a damned tiger there. It'll be awesome." And you know what, it was.

Nathan Greene
We're beginning to suspect that Adam may have had a thing for cats.

Then you realize that all of those animals are watching intently, waiting for these humans to get their bone on (also: note the phallic imagery of the giraffe's neck being erected into the sun).

The title (The Introduction) works in more than one sense, you see, because as you can see from his facial expression, Adam is clearly about to "introduce" something else into Eve after Jesus is done presenting them (we mean his tongue into her mouth, for smooching).

Of course, the big question is, what exactly is Jesus saying to Adam and Eve on this historic first meeting? Do they need instructions? Did he have to explain how foreplay worked? Would you be comfortable taking sex tips from Jesus? How are they supposed to be comfortable with their nudity when he's wearing a robe? Wait, this is the Old Testament, how is Jesus even there?

10
The Undefeated by Stephen Sawyer

Art for God

The Intended Meaning:

"We should realize that Jesus willingly fights and intercedes on our behalf.... He bears the scars of many previous battles, most of which are unknown to us."

The Actual Meaning:

How is this even Jesus? This is just a boxer with long hair and a glove that says "Mercy," which is clearly meant to look ironic as it pummels you in the face. And yet, "boxing Jesus" paintings are popular enough that Mr. Sawyer has done a whole series of them representing different emotional states and degrees of body oil application:

Art for God
Finally, a Jesus you could bang.

Art for God

Art for God
Jesus is never actually shown boxing. Because "awesome" is apparently sacrilegious.

The other thing you notice is that Jesus is huge. Merciful? Yes. But he also spends a lot of time in the gym, and waxing his body hair. So that one day, all of us will ascend to a heaven where the body oil and steroids flow freely from fountains, and every surface is a mirror that we can flex into.

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9
Precious Ones by Danny Hahlbohm

Inspired Art Gallery

The Intended Message:

Jesus loves little children.

The Actual Message:

This painting appears to be warning kids that strange long-haired men might be standing behind them at any moment, smelling their hair (and looking really into it). "If you feel heavy breathing on your neck late at night, don't turn around. Don't scream. It could be Jesus. Just stay very still and he'll go away, eventually."

In a religion that is constantly under fire for pedophilia among the priesthood, we would think that when sitting down and planning out a painting of Jesus and a small child, artists would be extra careful in making sure that it, beyond a shadow of a doubt, couldn't be taken the wrong way. But there you go.

Getty
"... Lolita was the wrong audiobook to paint to."

They couldn't just have Jesus sitting back a foot or so, maybe looking on with love and concern. They couldn't have his eyes open, maybe smiling with pride at the innocence and spirituality of this little one. Nope, he had to be leaning right on top of her, nose buried in her hair, eyes closed in ecstasy.

8
Calvary by Stephen Sawyer

Art for God
What would Jesus do: black tar or China white?

The Intended Message:

"Only God will share in the fullness of your sufferings and never forsake you."

The Actual Message:

... but also, when you shoot up heroin, it's actually Jesus who gets high, so it balances out.

Seriously, there has to be a better way to depict that idea, because right now, it looks like Jesus' tendency for materializing behind unsuspecting people has led to a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, and the dude is so stoned from all the booze and drugs and ... decorative candles that he doesn't even realize he's about to inject someone else's arm. It doesn't exactly help that Jesus happens to have the same tattoo as him.


Once you've had stigmata, most body modification seems pretty tame.

Heroin dude's mistake is even more baffling when you notice that there's no space for his own arm there, meaning he forgot he didn't have one. He probably lost it in the same accident that reduced his friend to a skull on a lamp table.

But of course all of this is avoiding the obvious, which is that Jesus' expression indicates he is getting high as balls from this.

And while we're on the subject of Jesus and tattoos ...

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7
No Appointment Necessary by Stephen Sawyer

Art for God
The waistline of Christ starts about 4 inches above his bellybutton.

The Intended Meaning:

"It seems obvious that if Jesus were to shock the status quo in the 21st century with a tattoo that it would say 'Father.'"

The Actual Meaning:

Except that's not Jesus, that's clearly Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, or a young Jeff Bridges. If Jesus wanted so badly to "shock the status quo in the 21st century," why would he be dressed like it's 1993? The real Jesus would have a jet pack or a visor like that dude on Star Trek or something. And he probably wouldn't be looking at us with the intensity of a male stripper who's really into his job. "No appointment necessary," indeed.


Jesus wept ... because getting your sternum tattooed hurts.

Anyway, yeah, that "Father" tattoo is pretty sweet (obviously), but why do we get the feeling that Eddie/Jeff/Magic Mike here only wanted to show it to us as an excuse to unleash those biceps? What? No, dude, we don't want to see the "Holy Spirit" one on your pecs. Jesus.

Before you ask, yes this is the same artist who gave us the boxing Jesus earlier.

6
The Senior Partner by Nathan Greene

Nathan Greene
For the Son of God, every day is Casual Day.

The Intended Message:

"Christ's presence is an integral part of daily life, no matter one's profession or calling."

The Actual Message:

Things have been rough for Jesus lately, financially, and so he has decided to go into venture capitalism. Or at least that's what this picture tells us. We know these paintings are supposed to be allegorical, but what part of the Bible does this refer to, exactly? The one where Jesus goes to the temple and negotiates a 15 percent share on all yarmulke sales?

The most bizarre part might be how casually the guy on the right introduces his business associate, who is literally Jesus Christ. "I'll get those estimates ready so we can discuss pricing and logistics. Oh yeah, almost forgot, here's God made flesh." "How do you do?"

Jesus, on the other hand, looks somewhat self-conscious about the fact that nobody told him that the dress code for formal meetings had changed since A.D. 33. "I honestly thought it was still robes and sandals. The ... the email didn't specify."

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Broken Dolls by Stephen Sawyer

Art for God

The Intended Message:

"The anguish that God experiences while His children are abused is the cumulative experience of all the abused children since the beginning of time compressed into one eternal moment."

The Actual Message:

Here's a lesson for all of you aspiring artists out there: Facial expressions are really hard to get right, but are also really important. They're literally the difference between "overcome with anguish over the suffering of the innocent" and "guy in Head & Shoulders shampoo commercial."


Or if you raise the water to his shoulders, it looks like he's coming out of a pool.

According to the artist, those are the dolls of all the abused children in human history, which is honestly the saddest thing we've ever heard, but Jesus is doing a really bad job of trying to look upset. At most he seems annoyed that someone has to pick them up. This isn't Sawyer's only "Jesus chilling at the beach" painting, either:

Art for God
This probably takes place right after the heroin one.

You may have noticed that several of the paintings we've shown you are by this same artist. We promise this is the last.

4
How to Recognize Jesus by Consuelo Udave

Goodsalt

The Intended Meaning:

Don't be fooled by false messiahs (we think).

The Actual Meaning:

There is none. We will pay you $50* if you can tell us what's going on here. We guess only real Christians can spot "the real Jesus" in this picture, because we sure can't, or even figure out why he'd be on a game show in the first place. The guy without facial hair is obviously out, but what about the other two? Is the fact that he's wearing a red shirt supposed to disqualify the one in the middle? Or is there a deeper message here we're missing? Wouldn't the real Jesus be the one who refused to appear on a game show?

*No, we won't.

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3
Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton

McNaughton Fine Art

The Intended Meaning:

"The man in the middle represents the modern Christian ... a man who must decide whether or not he will stand up for his Christian beliefs. Many are shouting out to tell him what to do. He raises his hand to say, 'Be silent, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!'"


"Thomas Jefferson, Osama bin Laden -- pay attention, you clowns!"

The Actual Meaning:

This is how the Bill & Ted reboot would end if it were directed by Kirk Cameron. Jesus is surrounded by a series of important historical figures who have traveled in time just to ... wait, is that Roy Orbison there between Henry VIII, Vlad the Impaler and fist-pump Hitler?


The new formation of the Traveling Wilburys?

The author of this painting is Jon McNaughton, who says that "Today, Christians are the most persecuted people in the entire world," and in his painting portrays the symbolic modern Christian as a white male in a business suit. You will be shocked to learn that his second favorite subject after Jesus is conservative politics, which leads us to the following gem ...

2
One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton

McNaughton Fine Art

The Intended Meaning:

Jesus was the inspiration for the Constitution.

The Actual Meaning:

Hey, remember when Jesus was president? Jon McNaughton apparently does. There's a handy interactive viewer in his website to help you identify each person in the painting and what they're meant to represent. In the Jesus-hating, socialism-loving corner in the lower right, for example, we can see College Professor holding Origin of Species, Liberal News Reporter, Satan (literally) and Unmarried Pregnant Woman.


And a dude who is about to make it rain.

President Obama is conspicuously absent, but only because the Constitution document is already depicted in the painting and McNaughton can only paint Obama if he's doing nasty things to it, as seen in his other works.

McNaughton Fine Art
"Dude! Obama! What the hell!"

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1
The Difficult Case by Nathan Greene

Nathan Greene

The Intended Meaning:

"The artist celebrates the intensity of the physician's quest under the guidance of the great healer."

The Actual Meaning:

Honestly, that doesn't look like guidance, that looks like "Ugh, not this guy again." The doctor doesn't look too thrilled to have some overbearing guy messing with his books when he's trying to concentrate. He probably wishes he was back teaching school in Boy Meets World.

Judging by the artist's other paintings, Jesus ended up sticking around the hospital for a while, interfering with the day-to-day activities of the doctors.

Nathan Greene
"This whole 'brain surgery' thing is a lot easier when someone isn't touching my shoulder."

Nathan Greene
"No, I got -- seriously, Jesus, if you could just wait outside while I work ..."

For more ridiculous pieces of "art," check out 6 Best Shenanigans Passed Off As Art and 15 Grossly Misleading Movie Posters.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Country Starlet Who Stole Her Big Hit Off a Crack Addict.

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