Culture

Man Suing Museum for Exhibiting Paintings Depicting Jesus as White Because That’s Racist

Justin Renel Joseph is demanding that the paintings be removed immediately.

A man is actually suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for exhibiting masterpiece paintings of Jesus Christ because Jesus is white and blond in the paintings — and that is racist.

Justin Renel Joseph has filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court alleging that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 demands that the four paintings be removed, according to an article in New York Post.

“They completely changed his race to make him more aesthetically pleasing for white people,” he told the Post. “I’m suing a public venue which by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can’t discriminate on a protected basis.”

Joseph said that seeing a white Jesus in Ricci’s “The Holy Family with Angels,” Perugino’s “The Resurrection,” Tintoretto’s “The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes” and Granacci’s “The Crucifixion” caused him “personal stress.”  

#share#The stress was especially severe, Joseph said, because Jesus had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color” and he also has “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color.”

“The implication that someone who possesses physical features like the plaintiff could not be the important historical and public figure of Jesus Christ . . . caused the plaintiff to feel, among other things, rejected and unaccepted by society,” court papers say.

#related#According to Joseph, who is acting as his own lawyer, the paintings are “offensive aesthetic whitewashing” and their display in the museum is “an extreme case of discrimination.” Apparently, he does not believe that the fact that the artwork is culturally and historically important is any reason display it in a museum where people go to see culturally and historically important artwork.

Seems pretty convincing to me — but Met spokeswoman Elyse Topalian, (who just must not know quite as much about art as Joseph does,) disagreed:

“When they were painted, it was typical for artists to depict subjects with the same identity as the local audience,” Topalian said, according to The Post. “This phenomenon occurs in many other cultures, as well.”

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