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The Apostle Santiago ‘too sexy and erotic’

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
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And walk a camino.
#1
Just read the following in the newsletter of the Dutch Society of St Jacob:

"The 87-year-old painter Antonio Ximenez Muñoz is furious because his painting of the apostle Santiago, which was displayed in the church of his native village of Membrilla in Castilla-La Mancha, has been removed.
The artist made the painting as a commission from the previous pastor of the church. He currently lives in Miami, and recently visited his birthplace. The painting appeared to be removed because the image of St. James in a tunic with a naked thigh was 'too erotic'.
The artist now demands that his work is re-displayed. 'It is a surrealistic work', he remarked, 'and I had announced in advance that I would not make a medieval work'."

This is what the dispute is about:

Santiago en Membrilla.jpg
 

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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
#2
So the decision to have it removed came from the recent priest or parish board?
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#3
So the decision to have it removed came from the recent priest or parish board?
According to a German site the diocese of Ciudad Real has justified the removal because the furniture in the sacristy needed to be rearranged. A cupboard now stands in the place of the painting. The work was "not censored" and they are looking for a new place to put the painting...
 
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SabineP

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#4
According to a German site the diocese of Ciudad Real has justified the removal because the furniture in the sacristy needed to be rearranged. A cupboard now stands in the place of the painting. The work was "not censored" and they are looking for a new place to put the painting...
Ok, to be continued...;)
 

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Kanga

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Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#8
I'd take it home and hang it on the wall - I love it! I don't know what the fuss is about. Obviously it is a modern painting.
 
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'
#11
From this point forward I shall reprogram my mind to envision a unicorn and rainbow every time mr. matamoros is invoked.
LOL, yes, whenever I see him on a white horse I will now have visions of "My little pony".

Something got lost in the translations. According to Spanish newspapers, the painter calls his works superrealistic, nor surrealistic. That would be Dalí and his Santiago El Grande.
 

Kanga

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Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#18
Ah yes, Dali's painting is much better - but he was a genius. I still like the Muñoz. And if the purpose of Art is to make us think, to question, to react and to interact with the work - it seems to have succeeded on this forum at least!
 

SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
#21
Ah yes, Dali's painting is much better - but he was a genius. I still like the Muñoz. And if the purpose of Art is to make us think, to question, to react and to interact with the work - it seems to have succeeded on this forum at least!
100 likes.
 

JillGat

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#22
From this point forward I shall reprogram my mind to envision a unicorn and rainbow every time mr. matamoros is invoked.

This is amazing stuff.
Hahaha! I hear disco music when I look at this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#23
Would anyone talk about it if it weren't for the artist's hurt feelings and the claim that the disappearance of his work from the vestry is supposedly about censorship and not simply a question of de gustibus? It was a gift. It's enormous - 2,50 m by 2,50 m. It was never displayed in public, it just occupied wall space in the vestry that, according to the parish/bishop's office, was needed for furniture. And they now say they will find a suitable space for the painting.

Does anyone know where the painting currently is? I hope they haven't disposed of it ... it wouldn't be the first case where a parish is not aware of the artistic assets in their possession. Who hasn't heard of the botched Ecce Homo fresco in Borja that has now become a major tourist attraction? In a similar way, this Santiago painting may have a brilliant future as a reproduction on wine bottles, teddy bears and mugs. :cool:
 
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Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#25
this Santiago painting may have a brilliant future as a reproduction on wine bottles, teddy bears and mugs. :cool:
It might also do well as a 'head in the hole' photo board, somewhere just before SdC.
 

TerryB

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Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#26
I am not sure how the "sexy and erotic" applies. After all, the traditional paintings of San Roque have shown plenty of thigh for hundreds of years. Presumably this was the inspiration for the modern attempt of Santiago by Muñoz.
Not sure that I could "live with it" though.;)
Ribalta-san_roque.jpg

Tio Tel
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#27
I am not sure how the "sexy and erotic" applies.
Maybe the pouting Zoolander/Ben Stiller look?

Here's an article from last year about Membrilla's patron saint with photos of the images and statues of Santiago that are on display and in use. Not a peep about the modern painting and the only controversy mentioned is the controversy concerning the iconographic representation of Santiago as matamoros. If I understand correctly, there was some remodelling done ... it made interesting reading for me.
 

t2andreo

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C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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#28
Being politically correct, especially as regards age old traditions and beliefs can be a minefield. Best not to venture there...

Sometimes, the original cannot be improved on. IMHO, in this context, old school is probably best...
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#29
Funny how this works. I didn't intend to do anything else than post an interesting story, but I kept thinking about it on and off today, also because of all your reactions. I'd like to share some things I came up with.

Apart from taste, preference and/or artistic merit, I like how art (in its many forms, and if it is done well) can sometimes force you to examine your own judgement. Not just on the piece itself, but also on your own reasoning or gut reaction about liking it or not liking it, or being moved by it or not.

We recently witnessed this clearly when the Manchester Art Gallery took down 'Hylas and the Nymphs' to provoke debate (as a prelude to a solo exhibition by Sonia Boyce). In this instance the taking down of a painting was in itself a work of art. It moved a lot of people in one way or another, judging by the many thoughts on many post-it notes that were invited to be left behind in the empty space left by the painting.

In that sense I think I can pull off noticing a striking similarity between walking the camino and art. It is all about context and intent, and how this influences your reality and perception. Walking a camino is literally (and willingly) stepping out of your comfort zone and living a different reality in another context for some time. It is bound to affect you in some way.

It will almost inevitably lead to examining your own judgement (on yourself, others, life in general and maybe even the universe as a whole), and your reasoning or gut reaction that lurks behind your judgement. A bit how art works, if it is done well.
 

Annette london

Active Member
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#30
My first thought!

Great legs !!
 

Kanga

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Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#31
Has anyone noticed the paintings in Samos - an angel who looks like Ava Gardner? So I'm told.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#32
So, I was reading the blurb and saw just the top half of the picture. It reminded me of some thoughts I had while walking the Camino. St. James and the other apostles are usually depicted as borderline elderly in art. But, assuming they were all roughly the same age as Jesus, he would have been in his thirties during the events of the gospels and probably no older than 50 at the time of his martyrdom.

So as I was looking at the painting, I was thinking, "What's wrong with that?" Sure, the depiction of Santiago looks a bit like a male model posing, but so what? It's probably more historically accurate than the old man we usually see. But then I scrolled down a bit more and saw the legs and it was... "Oh. Yeah. No. That's too much."
 
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#36
Being politically correct, especially as regards age old traditions and beliefs can be a minefield. Best not to venture there...
I'm not sure whether this comment refers to Santiago the Sexy one or Santiago the Knight. This is only a minefield when posters are unable to distinguish between facts and their own opinion. I'm interested in what's going on in Spain, both in the past and now. Calling an action or event politically correct is an opinion, reporting the action or event is not. There are a number of reasons why I found the article about Santiago as the patron saint of Membrilla (the town with the modern painting discussed here) interesting.

One such thing was the fact that the veneration of the apostle received a new impulse as recently as 1981 when a hermanidad (brotherhood) was founded who accompany their wooden statue of the apostle during processions but have to leave the brotherhood after the age of 40. And yes, during restoration work on another statue, defeated muslim and sword were removed and a cross was put into the apostel's hand instead. It made interesting reading instead of the umpteenth rehash of a bouquet of fresh flowers in Compostela or a statue high up on the second level of a building in Logroño that nobody looks at anyway.
 

GettingThere

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#37
Well I like it. Although for some reason I looked at the staff in Santiago's hand and immediately thought "croquet mallet". Not sure why, but now I'm picturing the other players... o_O:D
 

HedaP

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#38
I like it too. Santiago has always been a bit of an enigma to me. I find the supposedly sexy Santiago of the painting a bit easier to relate to than the Moor killer Santiago. Even apostles were once humans. :) And yes before anyone jumps in to educate me, I am aware the Moor killer bit was after the fact.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
'
#40
Bogong(ducking for cover)
Without the many diverse replies in this thread, I would never have given a second thought to the painting or had a second look at it ... but currently I'm wondering whether overweight angels can fly :cool:.

For anyone interested in the painter - he sounds muy simpatico, with an interesting life - below is a link to the original article (in Spanish) that lies at the origin of the current flurry of articles about the painting, with a recording of the telephone interview with him about the controversy; duration is 9 minutes. Unfortunately, my Spanish is not good enough to understand all of the phone conversation but I enjoyed listening to it nevertheless.

http://cadenaser.com/emisora/2018/02/07/ser_ciudad_real/1517982510_252194.html
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#41
I like this modern interpretation of the apostle. We just celebrated the reformation's 500th anniversary last year, especially here in Germany. Martin Luther, although he was clearly against pilgrimage to Santiago, was very clear in that every believer should build a personal and direct link to god through praying. Also, the concept of a loving instead of a punishing god is vital for his interpretation of the bible, to which I'm very close. I can retrieve some thoughts like that in this painting.

The apostle Jacobus has never been an object of theological reformation, so it's time for the arts to do so.
 

Sailor

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#45
I listened to the interview, rewinded a couple of times at about the 3 minute mark to hear him describe the painting, Santiago is the one on the horse, the [sexy guy] is just a "personaje" [he did not explain what this character represents]. Listening to him was like listening to my oldest brother [RIP] talking in Espanol, wow. To all caminantes, que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

Kanga

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#46
The "personage" is wearing a scallop shell, and a cross of St James. He is carrying the nice wooden trekking stick he brought from the little stall on the way out of Foncebadon. He has on his blue smock with long sleeves because it dries quickly, gives sun protection, and is lightweight. His trekking clothes are in the wash and this is his spare top and it covers the essentials, so why not?

Obviously he is showing us his badly swollen knee and thigh and is waiting for our sympathetic responses.
 
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#47
Santiago is the one on the horse, the [sexy guy] is just a "personaje" [he did not explain what this character represents].
Thank you so much, @Sailor, I can handle written text in Spanish quite well but the spoken word is another story altogether. Your help is much appreciated.

@Purky's introductory post has lead into some interesting avenues, quite unexpectedly actually ... I've read a bit about the painter's life in New York, seen some of his other paintings and finally found a well written, balanced and informative article by someone from the town of Membrilla itself in response to the issue in question. The figure on the white horse - I can see it for myself now that I've read about it in the article - is a self-portrait of the painter.
 
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Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#48
some interesting avenues, quite unexpectedly
Since we have been exploring interesting avenues concerning art and the camino anyway, I was dumbstruck by synchronicity this morning. I read that we (the human race) have not been alone with our "cognitive sophistication needed to develop symbolic behavior, including art".

It seems that the Neandertals, thousands of years before Homo Sapiens even set foot in Europe, were savvy enough to create shell jewelry (!), sparkly paint and rock art. And where has some of that rock art been found? You guessed it: Northern Spain, in the Cave of La Pasiega, 30 km southwest of Santander. Camino country. Just wow...

cave art.png
 
#49
In Spain offending the religious sentiments of members of a religious group is a crime. The law is discussed here. Is this version of someone's "ideal" image of the Apostle included within that law?
 

arch

New Member
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Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
#50
Just read the following in the newsletter of the Dutch Society of St Jacob:

"The 87-year-old painter Antonio Ximenez Muñoz is furious because his painting of the apostle Santiago, which was displayed in the church of his native village of Membrilla in Castilla-La Mancha, has been removed.
The artist made the painting as a commission from the previous pastor of the church. He currently lives in Miami, and recently visited his birthplace. The painting appeared to be removed because the image of St. James in a tunic with a naked thigh was 'too erotic'.
The artist now demands that his work is re-displayed. 'It is a surrealistic work', he remarked, 'and I had announced in advance that I would not make a medieval work'."

This is what the dispute is about:

View attachment 39575
Looks like he's scratching his thigh. ( Bed bugs?) Body is I'll proportioned and strange. IMHO.
 
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camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
#51
Maybe the pouting Zoolander/Ben Stiller look?

Here's an article from last year about Membrilla's patron saint with photos of the images and statues of Santiago that are on display and in use. Not a peep about the modern painting and the only controversy mentioned is the controversy concerning the iconographic representation of Santiago as matamoros. If I understand correctly, there was some remodelling done ... it made interesting reading for me.
Read the article and not mentioned the painting,particularly I don't think it will be ever in a church
 

volleyjanice

Active Member
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08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
#52
I must say, I'd much rather look at him parading around the albergue waiting for his laundry to dry, than some of the body types (my own included), that are on display in briefs and t shirts! Uh, not that I was looking. :eek:
 
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camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
#53

MoniRose

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(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
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#60
Just read the following in the newsletter of the Dutch Society of St Jacob:

"The 87-year-old painter Antonio Ximenez Muñoz is furious because his painting of the apostle Santiago, which was displayed in the church of his native village of Membrilla in Castilla-La Mancha, has been removed.
The artist made the painting as a commission from the previous pastor of the church. He currently lives in Miami, and recently visited his birthplace. The painting appeared to be removed because the image of St. James in a tunic with a naked thigh was 'too erotic'.
The artist now demands that his work is re-displayed. 'It is a surrealistic work', he remarked, 'and I had announced in advance that I would not make a medieval work'."

This is what the dispute is about:

View attachment 39575
That time when Liam Helmswoth posed for a painting of St. James.
 

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