Pete Doherty crucified - for art

A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone

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John Lennon made headlines worldwide in 1966 when he said The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus” and musicians have been comparing themselves to Christ ever since.

Now Pete Doherty has gone one step further with For Pete’s Sake, a life-sized marble sculpture of the former Libertines frontman on the cross, which has been put on display for the first time in a church.

Artist Nick Reynolds said the work, completed in 2008 but never displayed publicly, was inspired by Doherty’s treatment by the press. “I saw Pete being crucified by the media and that provided the bases of my inspiration to make this piece,” he said.

Musicians have long seen parallels between themselves and Christian figures. Noel Gallagher once said his band Oasis was “bigger than God” while Kanye West appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in a crown of thorns.

Ben Moore, who curated the show at St Marylebone church in London, said: “People like Pete Doherty are confident and have Christ-like attributes. Christ was a young man with a following who was revolutionary in spirit and frowned on by the authorities.”

St Marylebone’s canon, Stephen Evans, said: “I hope that For Pete’s Sake might help visitors to the exhibition stop and reflect not only on Christ’s Passion and Resurrection but also to stop and reflect on what in their own lives leads to death or to life.”