The Christ of Muscle Beach!

(Or: What I Did On My Summer Vacation)


“Christ in Majesty” is the official name of the striking, somewhat controversial mosaic on the apse wall of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, but someone Suz and I once knew jokingly nicknamed it “the Christ of Muscle Beach,” in reference to its half-bared chest and arm, muscular build and intimidating gaze.

It’s a nickname that came back to me last week on family vacation in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, as I worked on a sand sculpture of a subject I’ve done a couple of times in the past, though not in eight years: the crucifixion of Jesus.

Not just because I was actually at the beach, but also because, in part due to my lifelong love of and training in comic-book and superhero art, my figure studies in any medium tend to look, well, like this:

I’ve always loved sculpting in sand on summer vacation. As a kid I started out making sharks and other sea creatures; I’ve also tried my hand at castles, dragons and mermaids (and mermen and merbabies), among other subjects.

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