Many thanks to Kittredge Cherry (again) for a collection of stunning images from gay artist, Richard Stott. Read the full article and view more images at her superb blog, Jesus in Love.
This is only a partial image of one panting. For a full view and for Richard Stott's own reflections, see Kittredge's Cherry's article at Jesus in Love Blog.
What makes these images so powerfully erotic and moving is the fact that it is the crucified Jesus from the cross who is embracing the other male figure, thereby making explicit much of the sublimated sexuality of Christian mysticism of the cross. As Storr points out in his reflections, not everyone will feel drawn to relate to Jesus in such a mystical/erotic way and some will not feel drawn to Jesus at all in their search for the transcendent. But I have always felt a deep mystical love for the crucified and embodied Christ, so these paintings moved me deeply.
The painting below inspired me all through my Jesuit novitiate days some 50 years ago. And while it is not on the same level of quality as Richard Stott's work, it still served as a powerful icon for the passionate love of the crucified heart of Jesus. In fact, it was used as a holy card in those days long ago, to further devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But what a difference from Richard Stott's powerfully erotic, fully human paintings, in which the most intimately human areas of Christ's body are shown. This Jesus is engaged in passionate, suffering love with another wounded human being. He is not solitary in his suffering, but rapturously consumed by the Other. Stott has managed to capture the passionate, all consuming love of Jesus for a single individual, thereby making his love so much more concrete and personal, powerful and real. This is a suffering love that burns for each one of us personally, individually, sensuously, erotically. And since these images are of same sex couples, we cannot help relate the wounds of this sufferning Christ to the afflictions of gay people everywhere. The image below is of a lonely, isolated Christ, suffering in sadness and solitary, abandoned isolation. But it is not a passionate, erotic, Christ. Nonetheless, the painting served me well as a doorway into the divine heart of Jesus.