Jesus! Nope – it’s Atalanta’s head ultra
This Italian superfan is not the messiah; he’s a very naughty boy
Monks, eh? They’re always stirring up trouble.
There didn’t seem anything remotely controversial when an image of Christ was unveiled in a new church in the Italian city of Bergamo. That was until a habit-wearing gossip-monger let slip that the image might actually have been based not on Jesus himself, but on the head ultra of local Serie A club Atalanta.
“No one’s supposed to know,” the smiling monk whispered, but the claims soon reached the local press.
Known as Il Bocia, or ‘The Kid’, Claudio Galimberti is one of Italy’s most notorious fans, having been placed under a strict curfew and surveillance for a year and a half following a run-in with the police.
Soon, Andrea Mastrovito, the artist who created the work, found himself at the centre of a national media storm. So is that really Galimberti on the cross? Mastrovito’s not saying. “Mystery is a basic part of art,” he explains to FFT. “So, that face is the face of Christ. That’s it. It’s merely a detail in a big composition. Think what you want.”
That’s fine, but Mastrovito is a huge Atalanta fan with close links to the club’s ultras – and Galimberti (left).
“The ultras are misunderstood; they are ostracised from society,” adds Mastrovito, in support of Atalanta’s hardcore backing. “I am glad if someone sees Claudio’s face in the face of Christ. Claudio is a great guy and maybe one day people will start to recognise Christ’s face in Claudio’s.”
Galimberti would love that idea, and it turns out he’s a good Catholic boy, declaring to a judge last year that “the greatest ultra today is the Pope”. Amen to that.