Christian Right Art
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Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 10:56:46 PM EST
Jeff Sharlet and Andrew Sullivan have recently highlighted on their blogs the work of Christian artists Ron DiCianni and Jack Dawson. These artists visualize and popularize the militaristic and nationalistic themes of the Christian Right.
Some examples from DiCianni:

From the painting, "Blessed are the Peacemakers:"

I tried to think of an historic symbol to paint that would, in my opinion, epitomize the police officer of today. The one I chose is a Crusader holding the flag with the symbol of his mission, the Cross. Nothing said it better and nothing could say it better today.

From "Chariots of Fire:"

Throughout history, it has been proven again and again that America's soldiers have not only fought and bled for our freedom but have also fought and bled to defend what is right. Probably any soldier would admit they felt uncertainty or fear as war waged around them. But just as God single-handedly protected Israel in 2 Kings 6:8-22, God too has shown favor on the United States.

Chariots of Fire serves as a constant reminder that God will defend the right. While the soldier in the painting could be in any location around the world, DiCianni uses the imagery of the chariots of fire as a symbol to the brave men and women who comprise our Armed Forces that they fight for a "just cause" surrounded by "Chariots of Fire."

From "Praying for Peace:"

One of Ron DiCianni's greatest honors came in the form of a chance to paint the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Not just the chance to paint him, but the chance to paint him in a manner that reflected his personal commitment to God. More than just with this president, America was founded with God at its core...a nation founded on prayer. Praying for Peace is a strong visual reminder for all to pray for the nation's leaders. At the center of any struggle is good verses evil. If good is to win, leaders and citizens alike must pray for the wisdom to move in the steps that God has ordained.

Some examples from Dawson:

From the painting, "If My People:"

Look for the neglect, warfare, sacrifice tragedy and the evil...then look for the hope, healing, life and prayer.  Who is mending the flag? [   ]
JESUS is the One who is mending the flag. (Notice the nailprint.) He is truly the Hope for our nation.

From the painting, "Reviewing the Troops:"

On further inspection we find the real key to this painting.  It is the Lord (in the upper right corner) who is truly "reviewing the troops".  We are to be counted as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

"If My People" painting can be seen here.

by Carlos on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 11:01:52 PM EST

Comparing a modern soldier to a medieval Crusader.  I'm sure Middle Eastern terrorists would love to use that image as a recruitment poster. 

Also, how on earth are soldiers "peacemakers"?

They're ugly paintings, too.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 09:06:17 AM EST
A white, male police officer, of course.
And aren't these clowns aware that the Crusaders practiced up for the Muslims of the Holy Land by slaughtering as many European Jews as they could on the way?

by nogodsnomasters on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 04:14:49 PM EST

That stuff reminds me of some other art, from a different time and place...

by Steven D. Martin on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:38:39 AM EST
Thank you for posting that.  There really is a comparison.

Never forget....

by GreenEyed Lilo on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:58:38 AM EST

I suspect it's the marriage of Thomas Kinkade and Nazi poster art that causes my blood to run cold.

by khughes1963 on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 01:21:23 PM EST
This stuff is truly worthy of the Third Reich.

by nogodsnomasters on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 04:12:12 PM EST

Take a look at "two shall be one" painting. Total ripoff of an extensively published painting/concept board by the senior designer of the Lord of the Rings movie. Dawson just painted a cross reflection on the water.

by NancyP on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 02:22:55 PM EST

Echoing another commenter, how the heck are soldiers peacemakers?  A crusader is the best historical likeness to a modern-day police officer?  My, how insulated these folks are.

And by the way, the U.S. was explicitly not founded on prayer.  At the Constitutional Convention in Philly, Ben Franklin put forward a motion to start with a prayer.  The motion was tabled indefinitely.

by miggsathon on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 11:26:41 AM EST

After the last post, I would like to expand on my comment above. It seems to me that Christian Right art (including that of Thomas Kinkade,) Nazi art, and Soviet Realist/Communist art all share a basic banality and contempt for anyone who looks for something better. Some religious art is bad, for example, the dubious pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus I grew up with in my childhood. Other religious art, such as Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel, happens to inspire and is not in the least banal. I am no art critic, but the banality does bore one.

by khughes1963 on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 08:01:38 PM EST
one ugly and garish painted plaster statue?

by NancyP on Sat Jan 13, 2007 at 03:45:50 PM EST

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