Aug 15, 2005

L.A. Cathedral crucifix


Anonymous Jenn said...

Okay, that is really far closer than I ever wanted to get! Wow, that's truly horrific. I don't even think I've ever noticed how awful it was before because if I'm at the Cathedral I'm usually looking at the tapestries.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Barry Cuba said...

Care should be taken in catechizing the children at the Cathedral.

Jesus was crucified. He was not a burn victim, even though both are excruciating ways to go.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son and daughter just pointed out that this horrific representation has a biblical foundation.

Jesus WAS beaten beyond recognition of a man...

Smart kids... I just thought it was ugly too-

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Savanarola said...

Looks a bit like a chia pet.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Barry Cuba said...

Toparovsky constructed the basic shape of the 6'6" human form as one piece out of wax, clay, chicken wire, foam, tape and plastic tubing. He used burlap and wax on the outside surface which let the bronze casting show the texture of the burlap, allowing the representation of flayed skin.

Inspiration for the crown came from the crown of thorns, the common plant name for the Latin, euphorbia mili, which grows in the Holy Land. It is big, thick and has enormous thorns.

Before designing the crucifix the artist read the book, A Doctor on Calvary, by Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon in the early 20th century who spent fifteen years researching exactly what happened to Christ during the crucifixion. Toparovsky recalls, "It was so hard to read because crucifixion is so brutal." After having read the book, he says, "It was impossible for me not to really feel the suffering," to really understand "that I could embrace everything that was hard in my life, everything that had ever been hard in my life." This helped him "to be the biggest, most open channel for portraying Jesus that I could in my life."

Toparovsky particularly recalls the day Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Art and Furnishings Committee visited his studio to see his work in progress. "It was extraordinary really. I was quite nervous. I had done the best work I've ever done, but it could have been open for enormous criticism." When they reached the studio, Toparovsky recalls a "transcendent silence." At last, the Cardinal clasped his hands together and looked at him, then looked up and said, "God bless Simon." Toparovsky says, "It took all my strength not to pass out." The Cardinal then offered that he knew very little, truly, about art history, but he "did know his heart." The Cardinal continued, "I know that we are blessed to have a piece of art important in history in our Cathedral."

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Hmm. The Cardinal has a very different type of appreciation for art than I do.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

It seems a most moving crucifix to me. And I'm always delighted when we don't have to have another "Risen Christ Crucifix", i.e., not a crucifix at all.

This portrays death after suffering. Christ is "finished" and so it's somewhat pieta-like; very interesting.

Not EVERYTHING has to be bad, you know. It's not an ironclad rule. The Nazgul-angels are frightful and anti-Christian seeming. This is good stuff.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Deep fried Jesus.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or nestle krisp bar

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay before we begin blasphemously mocking seemingly accurate depictions of Jesus's suffering let us rather pray to gain increased devotion from the deeper understanding of the agony our collective sin caused our Lord that the artist seems to be trying to lead us to.
C'mon people let's choose the objects of our satire carefully...

9:23 PM  
Blogger skeetor said...

I freaking hate three year old child art, that people fawn over...

11:23 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Well said, Skeetor.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:01 PM  

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