Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

New Yorker sues Met for paintings depicting a white-skinned Jesus

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Sebastian Ricci The Holy Family of Angels (ca. 1700), Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Last week reported that a man from Manhattan has filed a lawsuit accusing the Met of exhibiting “racist” depictions of Jesus Christ.


Metropolitan Museum of Art Is Sued Over Display of ‘Racist’ 16th-Century Paintings of Jesus

Henri Neuendorf, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Manhattan man is suing New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art over the inclusion of four paintings depicting Jesus Christ as blond-haired and white.

Justin Renel Joseph filed the lawsuit at Manhattan Supreme Court on November 30, calling the paintings depicting an “Aryan” Jesus “racist” in the court documents. He labelled the public display of the masterpieces an “offensive aesthetic whitewashing,” and called for them to be removed because they represented an “extreme case of discrimination,” the New York Post reported.

Joseph claims that The Holy Family of Angels (ca. 1700) by Sebastiano Ricci; The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (ca. 1545–50) by Tintoretto;The Crucifixion (ca. 1510) by Francesco Granacci; and The Resurrection(ca. 1502) by Perugino, caused him “personal stress.”

In a phone interview with artnet News, Joseph said, “I shouldn’t have to go into the Metropolitan Museum and see paintings for white people. It doesn’t make me feel good. I have a little daughter. I don’t want her to see this.”

He continued, “This is the only art we see…It’s whites-only art.”

Joseph claims both the museum’s and the city of New York’s “imposition of anti-Semitic, racist and offensive artworks on the Plaintiff in a public forum, in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (the ‘First Amendment’) and in violation of Titles II and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

The website provides Joseph’s short bio, as well as court documents and a quote of the day: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

To read the rest of the article go to


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