Everyone’s an art critic.
A priest is defending a local artist who tried to help Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ontario, by fixing a statue of the baby Jesus that was vandalized.
But while sculptor Heather Wise works on a permanent new head ― for free ― the temporary fix she created for the statue caused a bit of an uproar.
It was a clay noggin that looked a little more like Maggie Simpson than Jesus:
Some even compared the attempted fix to the “restoration” of the 1930 Ecce Homo painting in Spain by a well-meaning 80-year-old:
One reason the head stood out was the color.
“The initial plan was to paint it, but it was never dry enough, and we’re starting into the rainy seasons,” Father Gérard Lajeunesse told The Star.
He said the position of the statue at the break was a problem.
“The difficulty is the artist had to lift the chin so that the head would stay on because it would keep falling off,” he told the CBC.
Lajeunesse also took some of the blame for the complaints.
“I got very few comments when the head was missing. Now I’ve received a lot of comments,” Lajeunesse told Metro News. “Maybe it was a little bit my problem, maybe I should have explained what was happening, but I didn’t.”
He told the Guardian that replacing the head could cost as much as $7,500, but then Wise offered to fix it for free.
“I am privileged and thrilled to be able to do this,” she told Sudbury.com. “To do a statue of baby Jesus for a church is like an honor of my entire art career.”
Lajeunesse told Metro News the new head will have a metal rod inside to stop it from being stolen again. He’s also hopeful the new version will please the critics who were unhappy with the clay head.
“It’s a first try. It’s a first go. And hopefully what is done at the end will please everyone,” he told the CBC. “I wasn’t trained for this in seminary.”