Schnozz of the Month: Christ as Salvator Mundi

A painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi, rediscovered in the 21st century and allegedly made by the hand of Leonardo, was sold last week for $450.3 million. This is the highest price ever disgorged for a painting. Of course, everyone in ours the Age of Big Money dreams of owning a da Vinci. There are thousands of billionaires on planet Earth, but only about two dozen surviving works attributed to Leonardo da Vinci; thus it is easy to imagine the scramble for ownership in this rare circumstance. However, there might be more to the furor than just one painter’s notoriety. Could the name “Leonardo da Vinci” really have gotten bidders so feverish as to blow their rolls twice, thrice over? We at The Schnozz are not convinced, especially after taking a peek at the picture ourselves.

Jesus is depicted with Renaissance garments and typical European facial features. Importantly, his schnozz is long and big. It is perhaps more than half the height of his face. Using Leonardo’s sfumato technique, this nose emerges bright from Christ’s dark visage like a heavenly light in the pagan fog, and when we try to make eye contact with our Lord and Savior, we find ourselves making nose contact instead. Surely it is more likely that this is the source of the painting’s immense price; a bold, immediately tangible nose like this one is certain to get billionaires ferreting through their wallets, much more so than the connection to some dead artist.

There are innumerable reasons for Jesus Christ to have such a long nose. Being the son of God, his human form must be biologically and aesthetically perfect, and naught is more perfect than a facially dominant, fully functioning sniffer. The Lord’s lungs are longer than everyone else’s; when a gust of wind comes, his nasal cavity must stretch far enough to accommodate his optimum lung power. Of course, this wind can also signify one of the Holy Ghost’s many earthly embodiments; when the Lord is thereby greeted by his third form, he utilizes his virtually interminable proboscis to suck up as much of the spirit as possible, as would be his duty.

It would not be an understatement to say that, in da Vinci’s depiction, it is not Jesus who is the savior of the world; rather, it is Jesus’ nose. Reaching from between his eyes toward the spectator, the bridge of Jesus’ nose slopes so straightly that it is not so much a bridge as a ladder—perhaps Jacob’s Ladder. Perhaps one day we will all slip upward on Jesus’ Holy Oily-Sloping Schnozz (HOSS) to reach Saint Peter. With such thoughts in mind, it is the least we can do to designate this icon of nasal brawn as the Schnozz of the Month.

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