Face of Christ in Painting

image I received this email yesterday from an artist requesting my opinion. Feel free to leave your own opinion in the comments:

Being an artist, in August of 1996 I painted a picture.
It was supposed to be a simple picture of a large cross on a white background.
The picture is 24 x 30. The two axis of the cross are 11.5 inches wide.
Roughly 28 x 22.5. The cross was made by taking a pallet of mixed colors of paint and with one vertical and one horizontal swipe nothing more.

When the paint dried you could "I would say" clearly see the face of Christ on the cross. I was so afraid I put the picture away and in the last 8 years have only showed it to several of my friends. Please give me your honest input on what you see in and think about my picture.
You can either call or email me back.

This is no joke.

Warmest Regards,
DiMarcia (Dee) Ancrum

(Click on the image to enlarge it. I had to trim it down significantly because the image file was huge... 3.3MB)

Art Religion

Posted on Mon Jan 17, 2005


Well, I'm glad she can see it, because I can't. I suppose I can see something at the top of the cross, but I wouldn't leap to the conclusion it was Jesus.
Posted by Tanith  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  11:37 AM
The first time I looked at it, I could see the head and shoulders of a rather cartoonish looking man in the centre. The second time, I saw the face of a man in the cente with the eyes just below the top of the horizontal. Hey - if you're told something's there, then you're likely to see it.
Posted by Alaiva  in  Canada  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  11:52 AM
it's very clear.... top left hand side of the vertical bar..... Skeletor!
Posted by Azrael  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  12:20 PM
Who knows, if you say it's there, sell it on eBay.
Posted by sbnature  in  sb ca  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:00 PM
If it's haunted by the ghost of Jesus, then it'll sell great on ebay.
Posted by Azrael  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:29 PM
Jesus is dubious. tehre's no beard, the eyes are off center--looks like jesus by way of Picasso, maybe. Now the face at the top, that is clearly Brak.
Posted by rwt1138  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:29 PM
The guy is obviously a religious nutcase. I don't see any face at all. If it really is a message from Jesus, could he ask him why God made the tsunami?
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:46 PM
I didn't see anything...
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:48 PM
That totally doesn't look like me! I dont see it at all unless your like some religious person who wants to make $$$ off of some painting that you claim looks like me!
Posted by Jesus  in  heaven  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:53 PM
I'm pretty sure it's Mojo Nixon.
Posted by IndyGuy  in  Indianapolis, IN  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:57 PM
The picture is too grainy to really make much of anything out of the paint. Who paints two swipes of brown and calls it a painting anyway? I think he's trying to salvage a really BAD idea.
Posted by Andrew J  in  Des Moines, IA  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:57 PM
I definately Skeletor in the upper left hand side, but not so much The Late Great JC.
Posted by DaveO  in  Denver, Co  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  01:58 PM
I see nothing. Swipes of paint, which, like Andrew said, is not exactly the most original idea in the world.
Posted by James D  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:07 PM
I don't see it. *shrug*
Posted by lilad  in  Canada  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:21 PM
Aside from the fact that nobody actually knows what Jesus looks like anyway...the image of Jesus as a long haired blue eyed guy was dreamt up in renaissance Europe(which conveniently linked well with their own needs to lord it over north Africa/mid east territories)

So if the statement was "To me, it has a passing resemblance to the modern idea of the image of Christ," then yes. She would be correct in making that statement.

The statement "When the paint dried you could 'I would say' clearly see the face of Christ on the cross" is false.

But hey, if it makes you happy/makes you a buck...go for it.
Posted by David  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:41 PM
It could be two swipes, but probably is more.
The horizontal stripe in relatively uniform, as one would expect from this kind of gestural painting.
The vertical stripe is uniform also, but only the lower two thirds. The upper third has obviously been doctored.
'images' can be seen anywhere, the brain has the capacity to try to make sense, or information, out of non-sense, disorganised material in our field of vision from clouds to oil stains, tree follaige to rusted areas on metal.
Posted by pepe nero  in  new york  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:45 PM
I don't see Mr JC in this picture either. However, I don't think the painting has been doctored- I think that the more detailed coloring in the top arm of the cross is because that is where the paint was first applied and then squeegied down. Then the squeegie was picked up, put on the right edge of the paper, and moved to the left to make the cross bar.

I'm a painter, and I agree that it's not a very good painter. I'm very into abstract experssionism. I love Robert Motherwell and Ellsworth Kelly- both who make rather large, bold, simple works- but this doesn't quite compare.
Posted by Katey  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:52 PM
i don't see it!!
Posted by kara  in  Avondale, AZ  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:53 PM
I mean "not a very good painting."

Alex, have you seen any other work from this artist? And are they male or female? There seems to be some confusion about this.

ps: I paint but I don't think I'm a very good painter either. I guess that's because my taste exceedes my talents. I make a good grilled cheese sandwich, though. smile
Posted by Katey  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  02:54 PM
I see it now!!!!!! I think he's giving you the thumbs up to go ahead and sell it.
Posted by sbnature  in  sb ca  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  03:17 PM
*makes sacrifice to Skeletor* TO THE GLORY OF GRAY SKULL!!!!
Posted by Samson  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  03:20 PM
I'm totally seeing some Greek-ish man/goat in there.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  03:41 PM
Jesus is one ugly sumbitch.
Posted by Matt  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  03:56 PM
I can see an image in the horizontal cross piece, near the center, but it looks more like Johnney Cash to me.
Posted by WG  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  03:59 PM
The only image that I can see is in the upper left side of the top most cross. If you look at that section as divided into 3 pieces, you can make out a half a face. Not saying that is the almighty himself calling out from the gesso, but thats what I see.
Posted by Gilvain  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  04:31 PM
I sorta see it... But why is he asking the opinion of a web site known for laughing at hoaxes? Is he hoping we'll say it's not a hoax and so get credibility? If so he really needs to check out some of the other religious posts, everyone here is pretty brutal about it. He'd have better luck getting support at a Christian message board...
Posted by Fay-Fay  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  04:41 PM
I might be able to see a hooded image of something at the top - I'd say it's The Evil Emperor, but it could be Skeletor, and hardly seems like it would be the face of Jesus.

As for the history of Jesus in art, it seems for a long time painters have just illustrated religion and mythology with whatever people and clothing looked like in the time and place the image was painted. Historically accurate artwork seems to be a relatively modern idea, and I've seen a few interesting examples of recent anachronistic religious artwork. One painter depicted Gethsemane with the Roman soldiers' uniforms replaced by Nazi uniforms.
Posted by Matt  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  04:56 PM
Looks like a sad Ronald McDonald to me!
Posted by JoBi  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  05:07 PM
I left a box of 64 crayons on a warm radiator once when I was a kid. The result was not unlike the "painting". When my Mom saw the mess she yelled out: "Jesus Christ". Mom- ahead of the crowd, as usual.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  05:48 PM
The following website talks about why we see faces in inanimate objects

Posted by Jeff  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  05:51 PM
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