One Nation Under GodI was wondering what people thought of this painting. I saw an infomercial for it last night and it seemed kind of strange. I am not sure if this guy is genuine or not, what do...

One Nation Under God

I was wondering what people thought of this painting. I saw an infomercial for it last night and it seemed kind of strange. I am not sure if this guy is genuine or not, what do you think?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am wholly unintrigued, unimpressed, and a little annoyed by it, mostly the result of the pop-up explanations and the announcement that "everything about the painting is symbolic."  (Really Mr. Mcnaughton?  If you hadn't put symbolic in bold, I might have missed that completely.)

In reply to #6: It's too literal for me.  Frizzyperm's interpretation could easily become one reaction to the piece, I think by the very fact (like he says) that it isn't the intention of the artist almost heightens the potential for the thing to be ridiculed.

On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't call this painting a "work of pure genius."  The reason it seems to portray everything described in Frizzyperm's analysis is likely more due to the fact that artist lacks any sense of creativity or genius, and is fairly simple-minded (and maybe a little overtly humble/self-righteous).

Artistic geniuses do not tend to provide explanation by means of literal translation in direct response to criticism.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a lover of art, I can agree that its all good that this man wishes to send a message in which he wishes to combine church and state. However, that is the very characteristic of the painting that I found a bit revolting. Church and state do NOT mix. Keep them separate. The "under God" part of the constitution does not mean the same now as it did back in 1776. What is wrong with people?

Frizzy is correct in that the caricatures are trite. In fact, I find them shambolic. But, most importantly, to try to sell some work that intends to put forward a theological view of our country based on shame, desperation, and desolation? Nope. To me, the fate of this painting is to be mass-produced to be placed at the center of your nearest run-down cash and carry, and which would not find any other market than the brainwashing style of infomercials.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You know, I did not even see the pop-ups until I read the previous posting. As for the piece itself, I find it pretty thought provoking. I found myself trying to figure out why the people depicted were shown doing what they were ding (praying, crying, arms extended, arms up in protection).

As for if the artist is genuine or not, I am not sure if that is the point. What I do believe in is artistic expression. While I may not like the work, agree with the work, or respect the work, it is our Constitutional right to be allowed to depict life, or a message, as we deem appropriate.

As a side note, I am certainly intrigued by the piece.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it's an interesting concept.  As a painting by itself, I find it rather confusing and hard to understand.  The pop-up information is an interesting concept.  One that I have not personally seen used in that way before. While I think he makes some interesting points, I certainly don't agree with everything he has to say.  Looking at it objectively, it's a nice painting, well done, and interactive.  Of course, I certainly can't say it is original.  If the idea is for art to be thought provoking, I'd say the interactive element helps achieve this goal.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see this painting being very popular in certain quarters of the American population, especially those who believe that America holds a special place in God's affections. I, too, am confused about what you mean by "genuine." Are you refering to the painter's beliefs and intentions in painting such a work? I don't think there is any evidence that we could use to argue that he is not sincere about what he is painting about.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This painting is a propaganda piece.  While it reminds us of our far from our beginnings America has sadly come, the caption beside Abraham Lincoln epitomizes perhaps the greatest myth in American history.  This man was responsible for the death of 650,000 American men all for the purpose of political ends.  Great Emancipator? I guess compared to Pol Pot he was a good person. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure what you mean by "genuine."  I'm sure that he believes in the ideas that he has tried to convey through this picture.  I live in a very conservative area of the country and I do not think that most of the people that I know would have any issue with the images used or the claims made by this painting.  I can very much see people I know having a painting like this.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Artistically, it's not the most original piece I've ever seen, and some of the characters are virtually unrecognizable despite the pop-ups that give their names. I do like the interactive content and the zoom close-ups, along with the info given about each character. I'm sure religious patriots will like it.

beefheart | Student


'Each to their own' and all that, but that is a vile, vile thing. It is 'art' at its most vulgar and cheap (even though McNaughton is charging $540 per print, unframed!!!). I agree with Frizzy that it's a masterpiece, but not in the way the artist intended. The only value of this work is its accidental damning of the crass values it is trying to praise. And at least in this sense it is glorious, funny, tragic and shocking. So I guess it's 'Art' with a capital 'A', but not when taken at face value.

The internet is over-flowing with venomous condemnation of this thing...

And his on-line gallery is packed with dozens more puke-inducing pictures in a similar style.

frizzyperm | Student

I think it is a work of pure genius. It poignantly captures the simplistic, one might almost say childish, naivety of the Christian conservative view. The grandiose and unashamed twisting of history to fit ideology. The awful, tasteless kitch. The seemingly total lack of irony and humour. The trite caricatures and composition. The loud, prideful anti-intellectualism. The labelling 'explaining' all the 'deep' meaning for the viewer. I could go on...

It is a sublime and erudite excoriation of the Christian right. Mind you, I'm quite sure the 'artist' didn't intend it to be.