The Last Judgment by Michelangelo
1536-41, Fresco, 539.3 in × 472.4 in
The Sistine Chapel, Italy
So on Saturday Pope Benedict met with over 250 artists (including sculptors, architects, painters, and directors) in the Sistine Chapel to discuss art. The Church and art have always had an on again off again type of relationship. Take Michelangelo's The Last Judgment for example, painted for the Church to basically scare people. Michelangelo even included himself in the piece, however the self-portrait is a bit scary- he is the one who has been skinned by St. Bartholomew. Gruesome and shocking, the piece is still on the altar wall in the Sistine Chapel.
It was beneath this image, an image representing the height of religious artistic expression, that Pope Benedict declared, "Faith takes nothing away from your genius or art. On the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them." I can respect what the Pope is trying to accomplish. He is acknowledging the world we live in, and most importantly acknowledging that art can impact it for the better. Art can move people. Art can inspire people. Art can create change. This desire for more spirituality in art is the start of a new movement- a movement that has the capacity to be miraculous.
Thank you Pope Benedict.