The Virgin Mary punishing the Child Jesus in front of three witnesses by Max Ernst

The Virgin Mary punishing the Child Jesus in front of three witnesses by Max Ernst
The Virgin Mary punishing the Child Jesus in front of three witnesses by Max Ernst
Anonim

surrealist art and its peculiar branch of Dadaism had a lot of provocation. There was no doubt that painters like Salvador Dalí with works like The Great Masturbator or creators like Marcel Duchamp and the most famous urinal in history, were great agitators of the well-thinking minds. And his art definitely had a lot of showmanship to it.

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Virgin Mary punishing Jesus before three witnesses by Max Ernst

Something that we can also apply to another of the great artists of the moment, the German Max Ernst, who brought together in many of his works, such as the Pleiades, characteristics of Surrealism and Dadaism, and therefore we can consider him a born provocateur.

This is the only way to understand this 1926 painting explicitly en titled La Virgin Mary punishing the Child Jesus in front of three witnesses. An oil that for the most devout believers and orthodox, without a doubt was a true blasphemy. For centuries the Virgin had been the throne and the mother of Jesus, an iconography that dates back to the Middle Ages and has passed through masterpieces by painters such as Van Eyck or Raphael.

And suddenlyErnstwith all her irreverence she presents us with this image, in which the Virgin turns her son over and is slapping him in her ass. And judging by the gestures, they are not caresses,but strong blows that are turning the buttocks red and even the violence of the scene has made the child's halo fall to the ground.

A scandalous scene of course, but today it hangs without any problem in the Ludwig Museum in the German city of Cologne. And although it could raise controversy in its time, of course the author was very proud to paint it, so much so that he even took a self-portrait looking at the scene through the window in the company of two other surrealist artists: André Breton, ideologue of the group, and the poet Paul Éluard.

The three observe the scene and with it Ernst seems to be telling us that before Jesus became the Messiah, surely Jesus would do mischief and annoy his mother, as we have all done. Something that seems obvious, but that did not prevent this image from being branded as blasphemous. It helped that Max Ernst was able to maintain some of the most defining features of historical Madonna paintings, such as the Child being nude or Mary wearing blue and red clothes.

On the other hand, there are those who say that Ernst would know the apocryphal gospels where the childhood of Jesus is told and the pranks he committed taking advantage of his divine character. However, despite the fact that the painter was educated as part of a Catholic family, it is not proven that he knew those stories so discredited by the Church.

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