A poster featuring a depiction of Jesus created to promote Easter week festivities in Seville, Spain, has sparked a heated controversy both within the country and on social media. Commissioned by the Council of Brotherhoods, the organization responsible for organizing the main Easter week events in Seville, the painting by renowned artist Salustiano García was unveiled during an event attended by local dignitaries, including the city’s mayor. García’s portrayal of a resurrected Jesus against a flat red background drew praise during the unveiling, but the reaction quickly turned divisive.
Criticism emerged from Spanish conservatives who labeled the image as an “aberration” and criticized it for presenting a “sexualized and effeminate” Jesus. Members of the far-right Vox party, such as Javier Navarro, accused the poster of seeking to provoke and argued that it did not align with the mission of encouraging faithful participation in Seville’s Holy Week. The controversy escalated with a petition launched by an organization of Christian lawyers, calling for the removal of the poster and the resignation of Francisco Vélez, the president of the Council of Brotherhoods. The petition garnered over 21,000 signatures.
In response to the backlash, Salustiano García defended his work, describing his portrayal of Jesus as “gentle, elegant, and beautiful,” crafted with deep respect. He rejected accusations of sexualization, emphasizing that similar representations have existed in artworks for centuries. The artist’s son and model, Horacio, expressed gratitude for those who found the depiction attractive. Meanwhile, social media reactions ranged from defending the artistic vision to creating memes that mocked the image. Well-known Spanish sociologist Rafa López suggested on a news program that some critics were motivated by racism and homophobia rather than a concern for tradition, further intensifying the ongoing controversy.