Friday, May 24, 2013

A perfect blending of art and faith

While there’re a few modern religious art works in possession of the Vatican Museum, the institution is largely known for its Renaissance masterpieces like ancient Egyptian/Roman treasures and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel among others.

Now the Vatican pavilion at the upcoming Venice Biennale (to be opened on June, lasting six months) will add a new touch to the sacred body’s foray into art. The cost of the pavilion is roughly 750,000 euros ($973,700), fully covered by corporate sponsors from Italy, a Reuters news report reveals.

The Church eager to work with contemporary artists

Ravasi said he hoped the Vatican's new initiative would be a ‘seed’ for the Church's future collaboration with contemporary artists, reminiscent of the times when it commissioned works from masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Giotto. His department in the Vatican has been holding gatherings called ‘The Courtyard of the Gentiles’ to promote dialogue among believers, non-believers, atheists and secular humanists. He said he sees the Church's reaching out to contemporary artists as an extension of this dialogue. "Art and faith, art and religion, can be very productive," he said.
The works chosen for Venice Biennale

They have no outwardly religious content. Indeed, they would look more at home in a white-walled gallery in New York's Soho than even the most modern of Catholic churches. One of the works inspired by the theme of creation is a multi-media work that shows a tangle of outreached hands on video screens while the viewer hears the sounds of children and animals. Josef Koudelka's 18 photos, some of them as large as 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) by 1 meter (3.3 feet) shows the destruction brought about by war and environmental neglect. He became famous in photography after taking pictures of the Soviet invasion of then-Czechoslovakia in 1968.
One of Lawrence Carroll's artworks as part of the re-creation section is in the form of a large panel with some empty light bulb sockets (while some carry light bulbs) and electrical wires "It's importnt we’ve a dialogue between cultures, religions and people. I think it's good the Vatican is doing this," he said.

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