Self-conscious art

The blogospshere is awash  today with comments and analysis of the removal of protesters from outside St Paul’s Cathedral. It would seem that the removal of the camp was devoid of some of the the violence feared – but nonetheless there were ugly scenes. Amidst all the images of last night, for me the most troubling is the one below from photographer Matthew Lloyd:


Whether it is the ‘Jesus’ hair of the protester, or the taking of such sacred words in such a context, I have to confess to my profound discomfort. Important though the issues raised by the protesters have been -this is not a struggle of messianic proportions, surely?

Back in 1997, when footballer Eric Cantona was at the height of his prowess, Manchester artist Michael Browne painted the image below, entitled ‘The art of the game’. It was unapologetically based upon Pierro Della Francesca’s depiction of the resurrection. (Which you can see if you click on the painting). Browne’s painting was painted with his tongue firmly in his cheek – knowing that any actual suggestion of a comparison between the French footballer and the resurrected Messiah was ridiculous.

Could the same be said of last night’s photo, I wonder?