The brilliance of all art, of course, is that it’s interpretive – one man’s tragedy is another man’s beauty. Which is handy, because this artist’s interpretation of Baby Jesus’ head when restoring a statue at a Canadian church is nothing short of tragic – and could be the brand new Ecce Homo, the painting restoration hilariously botched by a Spanish octogenarian in 2012.
The statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus has stood outside Ste Anne des Pins Catholic Church in Sudbury, northern Ontario, for the best part of a decade, and had been vandalised before. Finding the Son of God’s head laying decapitated on the floor was a regular occurrence but, in October last year, Father Gérard Lajeunesse arrived at the church one morning to find Jesus’ holy bonce had disappeared entirely.
Lajeunesse was told a replacement would cost between $6,000-$10,000 but, as if by divine intervention, local artist Heather Wise spotted the vandalism and offered to fashion a replacement head.
“I was so sad,” she told Sudbury.com. “My feelings were hurt when I saw it, because I thought, 'Who would do that?' It's just not a positive feeling to see that. I said, 'I'm an artist, I would like to fix it.'”
Unfortunately, though Heather had learnt sculpture, she has never carved stone before, prompting her to make this practice head out of clay. The new head was attached two weeks ago, with locals reportedly – and understandably – shocked and disappointed with its appearance.
As some people have pointed out, it bears more of a resemblance to Maggie Simpson than it does Jesus Christ. Much like the Ecce Homo, Heather’s not-so-handiwork is already proving a viral sensation.
Heather will have another bash at the head on stone after consulting a local headstone carving company for advice. If nothing else, you have to admire the effort, God bless her.
(Image credit: CBC/Marina von Stackelberg)