A controversial painting by Robert Cenedella has been displayed outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on New York City's Fifth Avenue in Manhattan showing Santa Claus hanging on a cross with wrapped Christmas presents at his feet.
The painting, which had been previously removed from a Manhattan gallery, has been called a "disturbing image" by passers-by, with the New York Post citing Councilman Joe Borelli as saying, "You have to be a real piece of cr*p to try to ruin Christmas for children and families coming out of Mass."
The image has also prompted harsh criticism by Twitter users, with many slamming the painting and its author.
@RobertCenedella hey there Mr. Bold artist, I’d like to see u make a painting depicting the prophet Mohammed & then put it on display outside of a mosque. Until u do this, you’re NOT a brave artist; you’re a coward. So #MerryXmas and also, I DARE you #robertcenedella #coward— DB (@DayTradinShrink) 25 декабря 2017 г.
Get it in the garbage where it belongs.— Don Jones (@DJGolfs) 25 декабря 2017 г.
If this could only be seen by adults I would have no problem with it. Do you care about children seeing it?— Mike Lerario (@MikeLerarioNY) 25 декабря 2017 г.
The artist has explained his "message" by telling the New York Post that "the painting has been considered controversial from the outset but for the wrong reasons," adding that he wanted people to "realize what has happened — how commercialism has really taken over what’s one of the more religious events in history." However, very few understood what the artist described as the "whole idea" of his work.
@RobertCenedella, your painting of the crucified Santa is an affront to my Christian faith. The commercialism of Santa pales in comparison to the price Jesus paid for my forgiveness. Your work grieves me. My Jesus is more precious than to mock his death. I pray for you.— Charlie Tuttle (@ctutt3) 25 декабря 2017 г.
Sometimes it’s best to just ignore- don’t give these things and people the attention they want. I don’t find it offensive — just sad— Jewhadi™ (@JewhadiTM) 25 декабря 2017 г.
Painting of crucified Santa displayed outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral; removed after complaints https://t.co/TTek0BVXih
The Catholic League has also commented on "The Presence of Man" painting, saying, "We took no objection to art that protested the commercialization of Christmas, but we also maintained that it was not obvious that the painting conveyed that message."