In ArtNet, Lewish Kachur writes an article about surrealist art which includes an image of the 1926 Max Ernst painting The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses. If you look closely, you’ll notice that Mary still has her halo on, so none of her holiness is lost due to her spanking Jesus; he, on the other hand, has lost his halo and it’s laying on the ground. He must have been very naughty. It looks like he’s getting a pretty vigorous spanking, too, if the coloration of his thighs and buttocks is any indication.
According to Antiques and the Arts:
“The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses: A.B., P.E. and the Artist,” a 1926 oil painting, shows a muscular Virgin spanking the infant Jesus, while Breton, Éluard and Ernst look on. Viewers found this large picture scandalous. It was denounced by Ernst’s own father and the archbishop of Cologne, who had the exhibition in which it was shown closed down. Today, this “blasphemous narrative,” says Rewald, is among the “icons of Surrealism.”
Why is Mary wearing a red top?
Interesting theological questions are raised by this question. If Jesus as a child never misbehaved at all, does that mean that he was less than fully human because he simply didn’t lead a normal childhood? If he did misbehave, how does that differ from sinning? If Mark spanked Jesus, was it really OK for her to be in a position of chastising God? Does she really have that authority?
Quick Poll: Assuming that they existed, do you suppose that Mary every spanked Jesus?
- Yes, she must have regularly beat the fear of God into him. That's why he was so repressed as an adult.
- Occasionally, but she must have been a very gentle mother.
- She wanted to, but was afraid Jesus would strike her dead.
- No, it never would have occurred to her to give a beating to the Son of God and Savior of Mankind.
- I don't know.
- I don't care.
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