Showing posts with label Art History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art History. Show all posts

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pictorial Fragment of Indians in Vatican Painting

Edit: Silvia Poggoli never loses n opportunity to attack the Church. The black legends surrounding the pontificate of Alexander VI is a fairly outworn implement in the arsenal of anti-Catholic propagandists. But this Italian journalist gets her information on the Catholic Church mostly from her contempt for it, and popular television programs. In any case, she manages to find in a very interesting fragment of the Church's artistic patrimony, a worthy cause for her blithe hostility.

[NPR] The painting was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI. Anyone who has followed the TV series The Borgias knows he was the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, a Spaniard who fathered several children and became a symbol of church corruption.

Alexander VI became pope in 1492, only a few months before Columbus made landfall.

Art historian Paolucci is convinced the entire Pinturicchio fresco cycle for the Borgia Apartments inside the Vatican had been completed by the end of 1494.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Umberto Eco Laments the Ignorance of Catholic Religion

This article bemoans as enthusiastically as the decadent Southern European soul can, the gap in the education of young Italians toward understanding the patrimony of what enlightened people everywhere who flock to museums on Sunday's instead of Church call "great" masterpieces, created by a disinterest in religious subjects; never mind the actual cause, professore. Three of these students he finds to his discouragement, don't know who the Three Kings are.

It demonstrates something that is painfully apparent that religious faith might be an important part of history and worthwhile in order to understand the great souls who were forced for need of bread to depict those scenes on canvas, but believing in it, that's another story.

It brings to mind Paul VI's fashionable Milanese meetings he held which drew large crowds and spawned a famous book, a dialogue between he and Umberto Eco, called Belief and Unbelief. It is a kind of model for the engagement of the Church with the modern world, often well-attended, attracting even people who would otherwise not attend Church at all. For all of the talking, which approaches the kind of chatter of inter religious dialogue and neo-ecumenism today, it's hard to say what it has done for Intellectuals like Eco.

Well, in this recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, he seems to be very much the same. Advocating for the kinds of things one of the post-religious heroes his novels might have advocated, a kind of areligious, religious humanism. He really shouldn't lament it too much, it's a situation men like him have encouraged and helped to create.

His half-hearted attempt to keep himself out of the camp of Catholic (even non-believing) partizans by encouraging the study of world religions is almost doctrinaire neo-Marxism. Bravo professore!

New York Times

by Umberto Eco

Almost by chance I recently happened to witness two similar scenes: a 15-year-old girl who was engrossed in a book of art reproductions, and two 15-year-old boys who were enthralled to be visiting the Louvre.

The parents of all three were nonbelievers and the teens were raised in secular countries; that lack of religious background clearly affected their ability to appreciate the art they were viewing.

The teenagers could understand that the hapless individuals in Theodore Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” had just escaped a shipwreck. And they could recognize that the characters portrayed by Francesco Hayez in “The Kiss” were lovers.

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h/t: Against the Grain

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Bauhaus and Tradition: New Criterion

One thing this recent review doesn't tell us is the unmistakeable debt modern ecclesiastical architecture owes to the Bauhaus school. The Bauhaus rejected the traditional and more human historical school of art paedagogy and created an absolutist vision which came to dominate the skylines and living spaces of European and American cities for the last 40 years. Bauhaus' architectural rejection of tradition mirrors the Catholic Church's own struggles with modernity as liberal enemies within the Catholic Church attempted to put their heresy in stone and legitiize their attacks on the traditional doctrine, practices and morality.

One might say that the Bauhaus established a workshop for heresy.

The Bauhaus lasted exactly as long as Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and is its principal cultural achievement. But the revolutionary school of art and design is also an achievement of modernism itself, for it answered a most vexing question: Was it possible to make a viable institution out of a movement that had arisen out of conflict with institutional authority, and which drew its focus, vitality, and sense of purpose from that conflict? Merely to demolish one bastion of academic authority, such as the imperious École des Beaux Arts, and to replace it with another would hardly have been worth the struggle.

One forgets that modernism before the Bauhaus was a volatile, many-sided, centrifugal affair and that there was little reason to believe that its various factions and groupings—whether Cubist, Futurist, or Constructivist—could ever make common cause. At times, their insistence on stylistic orthodoxy could rival that of the École (one thinks of El Lissitzky and Malevich purging Chagall from the Vitebsk School of Art). Yet the Bauhaus, by enforcing no aesthetic conformity and by promulgating no official style, proved to all that a modernist institution need not repeat the failings of its academic predecessors. Such an omnivorous and receptive stance was perhaps only possible in Germany, which, historically, had been accustomed to draw on the lessons of France, Italy, and elsewhere and to mix the results freely.

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