Perhaps the most viewed and discussed artwork of 2012 was Ecce Homo, a fresco by nineteenth-century Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez. The decaying depiction of Christ was “restored” to comic error by a local elderly woman. The finished product resembled a grade school rendition of a monkey, and the so-called “Beast Jesus” was born. The before-and-after juxtaposition of the original and its “restoration” was widely reported throughout the traditional media. Beast Jesus became historically relevant due to its “image motion.” Its afterlife as an internet meme accelerated this development to iconic proportions. Every period of art history has dealt with the figure of Christ in its own definitive way, summarizing its very worldview through its stylistic rendering and reception. Our period, likewise, offers Beast Jesus, an image whose authorship is pluralized, whose value was characterized by its digital motion, and for which no reliable critical reading would suffice to regulate its meaning.



AuthorMike Pepi