Italian Painter Giovanni Gasparro Revives the Original Blood Libel Against Jews

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With most of us stuck indoors, we have more time to reflect.

Many of us want to focus on making the world a better place.

Then there’s Italian painter Giovanni Gasparro.



An Italian painter whose work has been honored by the Catholic Church for its devoutly Christian themes and masterful baroque style unveiled his latest canvas this week — a grotesquely antisemitic depiction of hook-nosed Jews engaged in the “ritual murder” of a terrified Christian infant.

Giovanni Gasparro, an artist based in the Adriatic port city of Bari, uploaded images of the 7ft X 5ft painting that revives the antisemitic blood libel of medieval times onto his Facebook page on Tuesday.

That the painting is replete with the basest antisemitic tropes is instantly apparent. Titled “The Martyrdom of St. Simon of Trento in Accordance With Jewish Ritual Murder,” it shows an infant boy surrounded by a crowd of sinister Jewish men, variously wearing side-curls and religious items, who strangulate him, cut him open and drain his blood.

Gasparro’s brush purposively accentuates the stereotypes of classic antisemitism: large hooked noses, yellowing uneven teeth, blood-stained fingers and visceral pleasure at forcing a non-Jewish child to suffer in a manner reminiscent of Jesus on the cross. As the child in the painting weeps with fear, the Jewish figures cackle and laugh with manic energy.

His country is ravaged by the coronavirus more than most, yet this is what this Italian sausage has chosen to do. Perhaps he could not resist sharing this now, with Passover fast approaching, Passover being the festival with which the original blood libel was concerned.

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