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On December 3rd, 2020 by Jeremy Cotroneo

Homeless Jesus – by Artie Martines

Posted In:
Art | Culture | Florence | Spain | Travelers Tales

This post is guest-written by our traveler Artie Martines.

During one of our on-line presentations, our guide Lior Aviv talked about a modern artist’s statue called "Homeless Jesus," which can be found in Florence.

Travel Community member Artie took a deeper look into this and wrote a nice piece on our Facebook page which we would like to share with all of you:

When Lior showed the slide of the statue of Jesus under the blanket which is commonly called “Homeless Jesus,"  I commented that we had seen the same depiction in Barcelona last year while traveling with Tuscany Tours. I did a little research and found that the sculptor is a Canadian, Timothy Schmalz, and the original installation of the sculpture was in 2013 in Toronto at the Jesuit School of Religion at the University of Toronto. It had originally been offered to a church in Toronto and St Patrick’s in NYC. Both churches turned him down.

 

From Wikipedia:

The statue has been described as a "visual translation" of the Gospel of Matthew passage in which Jesus tells his disciples, "as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me." Schmalz intended for the bronze sculpture to be provocative, admitting, "That's essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It's meant to challenge people."

 

There are now installations of this piece in numerous locations throughout the world. You can find it in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The sites where you can find it include the Vatican.

The one we saw in Barcelona is located near Santa Anna church which houses a soup kitchen run by the homeless.  The statue was installed in February 2019 just a few weeks before we saw it.

It is a very powerful piece, and it certainly evokes a reaction as the artist intended.

I was certainly moved by it, and it made me even more grateful for all that Eileen and I have been blessed with over the years. It also affirmed the support we give – and the work we do (mostly Eileen) for – the Elizabeth Coalition To House The Homeless here in NJ (you can read more about the Elizabeth Coalition here).

Attached is the picture I took in April 2019.

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