Chema Rodríguez Sevilla


Updated Monday, January 29, 2024-23:41

  • Controversy The image of the resurrected person on the Holy Week poster in Seville goes viral in minutes

  • Brotherhoods From the sanctification of David Bowie to the 'spider' camera: this is how the 'purple press' is reinvented every year to tell about Holy Week

At 5:29 p.m. this Monday, 9,935 people had signed on the platform to demand the censorship of the poster announcing Holy Week in Seville 2024 and which was presented just two days before, on Saturday. Of them, 3,985 signatures had been registered on this day alone. And the number increases by the minute. At 5:34 p.m., there were already 9,950 people calling for censorship, for the

"immediate removal"

of the poster. At 5:45 p.m., 9,972...

But the thing is nothing if you compare the collection of signatures with the stoning that both the work and its author, the Sevillian painter Salustiano García, have suffered on social networks.




The poster, which has gone viral in a few hours, represents "Christ resurrected, now converted into God." A "Christ God full of majesty, serenity, tenderness, sweetness...", with a "firm but tender" look.

Salustiano García,

who signs these words, is neither a new nor an unknown painter. In fact, he is quite the opposite and is considered a master of the figurative field and a masterful portrait painter. But, says the author, until now this recognition was more international than local and in his city, Seville, it had almost gone unnoticed.

For this reason, he tells EL MUNDO, he immediately accepted the commission that the Council of Brotherhoods and Brotherhoods of Seville gave him four months ago, a poster for Holy Week 2024, which in Seville is much more than that. The painter says, without regretting it in the slightest, that he "didn't know what responsibility he was assuming" when he said yes. But he didn't think about it because he felt, he adds, like "the prodigal son" who finally came home. "My city has not counted on me in the last 27 years, I have always done my career outside," he emphasizes.

In the workshop where he painted his

Resurrection of Christ

there are still unpacked paintings, many empty ones and even, on the door, a sign advertising a rehabilitation clinic. The controversy, and the media storm that it has unleashed, has caught Salustiano García in the middle of a move. "He hasn't given us time," he excuses himself, while he attends to the journalists who make a pilgrimage to Bormujos, the town on the outskirts of Seville, where he has settled with his brushes and his colors.

Presiding over the workshop, the intense red of the controversial painting, in front of which the artist proudly poses, defending his two children, his resurrected Christ and Horacio, his twenty-year-old son who served, precisely, as a model for the painting and who seems as immune to criticism as his father.

«What is very white? Like all European Christs, all Gothic Christs.

«That he is half naked?

Like all the crucified and resurrected Christs of Spain and Europe. One by one, the painter dismantles the criticism of a work that has left few indifferent and that has caused a stir that, he assures, he never imagined.

Not only that, but he remembers that when he accepted the assignment, one of the first things he was clear about, and he said so, was that he wanted "zero controversy," that he wanted to be "very respectful." In his opinion - and he is not alone - the result conforms to that will and he does not understand most of the criticisms, which "are unfounded, but there are many fundamentalisms."

In the painting there are very visible and recognizable nods to Holy Week in Seville. The powers of the Christ are a faithful reproduction of those of the Christ of Love and the cloth he wears, for all his clothing, is the Cloth of Purity of the Christ of the Puppy. Even so, a part of the Sevillian brother world has not been amused by the resurrected Salustiano García.

"Where do you see the scandal, irreverence to whom?" he asks, while highlighting how, before picking up the brush, he studied everything that had been done in brotherhood posters in Andalusia in the last two centuries.

That is why he does not understand the allusions to homosexuality that some have seen in the poster. "They say he looks gay, let God come and see," he reflects before criticizing his critics: "That in 2024 homosexuality will be used as a throwing weapon and these criticisms will come from Christians... I am convinced

that Jesus Christ would not like it.

Salustiano red - the color of the background and that of many of his works - is another thing that was clear to him almost from the beginning. It is his color, but, in addition, it is similar to "the passion red" of Holy Week.

He had more doubts about the model, to the point that he started looking at agencies. But a friend gave him the key and pointed out his own son, Horacio, a Computer Engineering student -

"I'm the black sheep

," he says laughing - who has grown up among his father's portraits and who, like him, does not see. The reading hides nor understands so much controversy.

Horacio gave a face and body to his father's Christ, but the artist had another close inspiration. He told it at the presentation of the poster on Saturday and repeats it now, evoking the moment when, at only 12 years old, he saw the lifeless body of his brother Pepe, who died at the age of 18. He had seen him suffer so much in his last two years that the "serenity" that he saw in his face and in his body was forever engraved in him and that is what he wanted to convey in the work of he. That and a "reassuring" message because "life is very complicated, we are born suffering and the earth is a valley of tears." For this reason, he wanted the look of his Christ to transmit

"a message of hope."

It is 6:41 p.m. when these lines are written, not even two hours have passed since the start, and the number of signatories who support the censorship of the Holy Week poster in Seville is already at 10,136, although it does not seem that they will be successful .

At least if we take into account what, until now, has been the official position of the Council of Brotherhoods, which during Holy Week in Seville, and in the life of the city throughout the year, has a very specific weight. Its vice president, José Roda, is also a professor of Art History at the University of Seville, and has been, and is, one of the strongest defenders of García's work. Placing emphasis, in addition to religious values, on the technical and artistic quality of the painting.

Which they have been appreciating for many years at the Frost Museum in Miami, the YBCA in San Francisco, the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, the Luma Museum in Chicago... and a long etcetera in which the Arco fair in Madrid should be highlighted. . He has several exhibitions planned for the coming years and money had nothing to do with him accepting a commission that he

does not regret.