Consider the difficulty of rendering Jesus’ visage as an artist. You’ve gotta be able to sculpt or draw a head, for one thing, and then get the details of the face right. Also it’s Jesus, allegedly the son of God, so the stakes are higher than usual.
Which maybe explains why, four years ago, when an elderly Spanish woman failed to restore a Jesus fresco to its former glory it set the world on fire.
Now, in Canada, something similar has gone down at a Catholic church about 250 miles northwest of Toronto, in the city of Sudbury.
There, according to the CBC, church officials had a problem. A statue depicting Jesus and Mary kept getting vandalized, specifically the head of Jesus, which was repeatedly ripped off and deposited nearby.
Parishioners often found the head and reattached it, but in a decapitation last October, the head wasn’t found, leaving Jesus headless for months as church officials searched for solutions. (The church could not afford to rebuild the statue whole, which would have cost up to $10,000.)
Finally, a local artist volunteered to craft a new head, which she then spent hours sculpting out of clay before affixing it to the terracotta sculpture.
The results, as you can see, are … interesting.
Parishioners, for their part, have responded with “hurt, surprise, and disappointment,” according to the CBC, while the church’s priest told the network he was “shocked” by the head—but not because of the its form, but rather its color.
Still, the priest said, it’s just a start. The same artist will take another crack at it in the coming months, this time in stone. After all, in Spain, local outrage then eventually gave way to a loving embrace: that painting is, today, a major tourist attraction, and the center of its very own museum.
“It’s a first try,” the priest told the CBC. ”It’s a first go. And hopefully what is done at the end will please everyone.”