[follow-up to earlier http://sharperiron.org/forum/poll-assembling-collection-of-sacred-art-yo... about nakedness in sacred art , especially portraying Jesus]
Did Bob Jones do the right thing when it altered a 16C painting for modesty's sake?
Calvaert's St. Francis Receiving the Christ Child is a large oil painting, about four feet wide and just short of seven feet high. The kneeling Saint Francis reaches up to the infant Jesus, who is seated on a cloud with his mother, right hand raised in a gesture of blessing.
The painting had one problem for BJU: the nakedness of Christ sat uncomfortably with standards of Christian modesty prevailing on the campus. The gallery solved its problem with paint. The museum's file for the Calvaert painting does not have much information about the restoration work, but it does note, “Retouching on Child's garment completed January 24, 1959.” The terse remark obscures the fact that he had had no garment before. To create one, the restorer extended the white cloth on which Christ sits so that one of its edges drapes modestly across his groin.
You can look at an image of the painting in its altered state here:
Again, please understand that the purpose of this question is to help us understand what reasons and perspectives are available among the likely audience for this exhibit; we are trying to understand the "meaning" of the painting as displayed in terms of what the institution and its likely constituency think of it. Thanks for your help.
Please explain your answers, of course!