‘Christ Unlimited’ Dancing Christs sculptures by Herman Makkink

As seen in:

Designer: Herman Makkink

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Christ Unlimited (1970) are sculptures by the artist Herman Makkink (1937-2013) of naked, crucified Jesus dancing as if in a chorus line.

They were originally made in an edition 9. From what we can determine numbers 6 and 8 of this edition were the exact Makkink sculptures acquired by Stanley Kubrick for the 1971 Warner Bros. film A Clockwork Orange. They appear as a set of four (presumably to echo the four droogs) on Alex’s bedside table in his bedroom at his parents’ flat.

The material is painted polyester and fibreglass, and they measure 20¾in. high

Original editions

A set of two Christ Unlimited sculptures from the actual screen used set which appeared in A Clockwork Orange were sold by Christies in 2014 for £7,500 (they were numbered 6 and 8 in red paint at the underside of each right foot).

Christies’ website tells us “Herman Makkink and his brother Cornelis shared a studio at the S.P.A.C.E. complex at St. Katherine’s docks in London. In 1969 Stanley Kubrick visited S.P.A.C.E. to get ideas for the set design of his upcoming production A Clockwork Orange, eventually borrowing two sculpture works from Herman, Christ Unlimited and Rocking Machine, and nine paintings from Cornelis for use as props in the film.

According to Herman, “…the Christ Unlimited figures were not designed especially for A Clockwork Orange. They formed part of my studio work at the time, and, after seeing them there, Kubrick wanted to use them for the film because they probably had the futuristic look he and his wife wanted. In the late sixties and early seventies, we, London based artists, felt terribly hip. We didn’t want to fight the establishment so much as shock them. Christ Unlimited was inspired by a crucified Christ statuette that I had found. The left arm and both legs from the waist down had been broken off. I replaced them in a more joyous pose – that of a dancer in the midst of a popular folk dance from the Balkans and the Middle East, known as The Butchers Dance.” Herman Makkink (© 2000 Drencrom V.O.F.)

Kubrick borrowed the full edition of nine dancing Christ’s for use in the film, though only four are seen in Alex’s bedroom.”

The full edition was returned to Herman Makkink after filming. The Christies auction pieces were sold be vendors’ mother who purchased numbers 6 and 8 from the artist in the 1970s.

Later editions

In 2005, Medicom Toy released an edition of 20-inch Christ Unlimited art toys sold in pairs of two. Three years later, the value of the figures had doubled, according to a Phillips de Pury 2008 auction.

In 2009, another Japanese company, Nexus VII, released an even more limited all-black Christ Unlimited multiple.

‘Christ Unlimited’, dated 2016, painted in back were sold in auction by Il Ponte Auction House, Via Pontaccio, Milan, Italy in 2020.

New editions

We’ve had news that these sculptures may be rereleased in a new edition at some stage. We have our ear to the ground on this so please get in touch at [email protected] if you want to be notified when these are released, and also if you have any of the past editions of the Christ Unlimited sculptures to sell.