A court in central Russia has ruled that a painting of the Sermon on the Mount that features Mickey Mouse instead of Jesus Christ is extremist, the regional prosecutor’s office said on Friday.
“Unless the Kaluga Region court’s ruling is successfully appealed,” reports the Russian news agency Novosti, “the painting will be banned from exhibitions, newspapers, magazines or television. The case was heard in the Kaluga Region after a local complained to the authorities.
Artist Alexander Savko’s Sermon on the Mount painting — part of a series entitled Mickey Mouse’s Travels Though Art History — was first shown at a controversial 2007 exhibition called Forbidden Art, reported Novosti:
“During the court hearing, it was established that Savko’s technique of uniting the image of Jesus Christ, which is sacred for Christians, and the comical image of Mickey Mouse, which in this situation is vulgar, has turned the graphic work into a caricature of Jesus Christ,” a statement on the prosecutor’s office’s website says.
“The Gospel story is therefore presented by the artist in the form of a comic, which is an extremely cynical and mocking insult to the religious beliefs and feelings of Orthodox Christian believers,” it says, adding that the court agreed with the prosecutor’s reasoning.