Artful Musing

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: The National Gallery acquires Casting Jesus, a “brilliant and hilarious” film-within-a-film

By Paul Gessell

Christian Jankowski, "Casting Jesus," 2011. Performance at Santo Spirito, Rome. © Luise Müller-Hofstede, courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

What did Jesus really look like?

This is a question that has bedevilled artists for the past 2,000 years. Generally, he is depicted as a man of average height, with a beard and a bearing varying from gaunt to beatific. But maybe he was short. Or chubby. Or preferred a close shave. And just how big was his nose?

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and other apostles tell us, in the Bible, what Jesus said and did. But they don’t really provide a physical description. So, artists have had to use their imagination.

This brings us to the brilliant and hilarious film, Casting Jesus, by German artist Christian Jankowski that has recently been acquired by the National Gallery of Canada and is currently on exhibition until the new year. (more…)