Picture Perfect Jesus 501126D
- Running Time: 47 mins.
- Region: All Regions
- Production Year: 2000
Almost everyone knows the image, but few know "the rest of the story." Warner Sallman's portrait of Jesus Christ is one of the most recognized paintings of the 20th century, indeed one of the most recognized images ever. The New York Times says, "the popularity of Sallman's 'Head of Christ' makes Warhol's 'Soup Can' seem downright obscure."
Full DescriptionAlmost everyone knows the image, but few know "the rest of the story." Warner Sallman's portrait of Jesus Christ is one of the most recognized paintings of the 20th century, indeed one of the most recognized images ever. The New York Times says, "the popularity of Sallman's 'Head of Christ' makes Warhol's 'Soup Can' seem downright obscure."
Produced in 1940, it was a marketing marvel. The image was put on clocks and calendars, funeral fans and Sunday school literature. By 1984 it had been reproduced more than half a billion times.
But its popularity also has led to controversy. While multitudes find it comforting, others now call it racist. It's been burned on the steps of the Capitol. Courts have ordered it removed from schools and public buildings.
Picture Perfect Jesus is a biography of this image. It answers two important questions: why was this image once so universally accepted and why is it no longer so? Narrated by Hal Holbrook, Picture Perfect Jesus is a documentary by award-winning producer Lyle Jackson. Click here to help others by writing a customer review today! Don't forget to give it a star rating too!
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Booklist - October 2001
In 1940, commercial artist Warner Sallman painted a portrait known as the "Head of Christ." This image, reproduced on clocks, calendars, funeral fans, and prayer cards, quickly became America's favorite representation of Jesus Christ. Recent controversy over the familiar painting finds ethnic groups ridiculing Sallman's depiction of Christ and civil liberty groups protesting against its display in public buildings. This evenhanded, nonjudgmental production (with narration by Hal Holbrook) balances arguments from Sallman supporters with more negative comments from activists seeking a truer, more contemporary image of Jesus Christ. Archival stills and footage intermix with comments from art historians, theologians, biographers, and others in this fascinating glimpse at both a recognizable painting and cultural changes in the twentieth century.
Video Librarian - Sept/Oct 2001
Along with George Washington's and the Mona Lisa, Sallman's "Head of Christ" has to be one of the world's most famous portraits. Yet, while people of all ages and persuasions readily identify this image as Jesus Christ, almost no one knows the painter. Commercial artist Warner Sallman's portrait of Christ became something of a marketing marvel during the 1940s when it appeared on everything from clocks to funeral fans, and was hung indiscriminately in public places and distributed on wallet-size cards to servicemen and women of all religious persuasions (until First Amendment issues put an end to that in the '90s). Hal Holbrook narrates this 'portrait of a portrait,' which traces the history of the work, its universal popularity, and social changes which cause it to be discredited, as well as offering a look at modern depictions of Jesus and various viewpoints on the reproduction of his image. The result is a surprisingly engrossing film -- richly researched, thoughtful and respectful -- that will comfort those who find this image 'picture perfect' and challenge others to contemplate what face they put on faith. Recommended.
Baptist Bulletin, May/June 2008
This is a fascinating documentary concerning one of the most beloved, recognized, and distributed portraits that has ever been painted. Soldiers carried copies with them during World War II as a comfort and encouragement; calendar companies and funeral homes have made the portrait available to clients; Sunday Schools and churches have place the paintings in their rooms; and almost all homes have at least one copy, whether on walls or in books. Over two decades ago, Sallman's "Head of Christ" had been reproduced more than half a billion times. In recent years, however, the paints of Jesus by Warner Sallman have come under attack. Some fundamentalists don't like Christ's having long hair in the portrait, but he vast majority of criticism has come from Left Wing circles who call the paintings racist, among other things. Courts have also removed the paintings from schools and public buildings over the issue of "separation of church and state." The DVD is educational concerning the spiritual trends in our society. This reviewer found the material on Warner Sallman's life the most interesting part of the production.
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