Sacred Art

Paglia & the Art of Transgression

The oddities of Archbishop Paglia’s 2007 commissioned mural stirred interest in other works by Ricardo Cinalli, the Argentinian artist who painted it. Why him? Of the ten artists who auditioned for the project, what recommended Cinalli above the others? Presumably all applicants were adept at the human figure, all capable of managing the demands of a large-scale wall painting. What was the distinguishing feature of the winning artist’s portfolio? Go ahead, take a guess:   Ricardo Cinalli. El Plato (1997-98). The bulk of Cinalli’s output—prior to and close to the time of the commission—exhibits a will to startle, an inner necessity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mr. Continue Reading
The Archbishop's Mural & The Homintern

Notices of Archbishop Paglia’s homoerotic mural began appearing in my e-box on Friday, with still more on Saturday. I regret not having paid closer attention before shrugging in dismissal. Diverted by art history and the aesthetics of the thing, I missed the crux of the story. Truth to tell, the screaming headline put me off: Shocker: Francis-appointed Vatican archbishop featured in massive homoerotic painting he commissioned. Maybe it was the word shocker. So often does that precede something that ought be no surprise to anyone, let alone a shock, that I did not read past the opening paragraph on LifeSiteNews:
The archbishop now at the helm of the Pontifical Academy for Life paid a homosexual artist to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in 2007.
Continue Reading
Sr. Eliseea Papacioc. St. Paul.

Fanaticism in matters of sacred art is an attitude that can lead to a decadence more sterile than the one we are now endeavoring to overcome. Maurice Lavanoux, “The Authentic Tradition and Art,,” Liturgical Arts (1954)
This past Saturday I caught a late afternoon train into the city for the last night of One Faith, East and West, a collection of contemporary sacred art at NYU’s Catholic Center. This was the final stop after exhibition in Beijing and Moscow. The show closed with a talk by painter Clement Fuchs, “Hermeneutics of Continuity in Sacred Art.” It was an inauspicious title. Continue Reading
On Keeping Powder Dry

“Woe to me if I do not evangelize” 1 Cor 9:16   You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em Know when to fold ‘em Know when to walk away know when to run You never count your money When you’re sittin’ at the table There’ll be time enough for countin’ When the dealin’s done. Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler “(1978)   Two thousand years apart, the verses complement each other. St.Paul was a canny evangelist. He knew when to fold (on circumcision and table laws) and when to hold his ground. Continue Reading
Bloodless/Bloodied

Blood is either absent or decorously minimized in those images of Jesus’ Passion with which we are best familiar. The death of Jesus is only part of the Christ story; the momentous, history-shattering disclosure comes later. Accordingly, traditional Passion imagery inclines toward a reflective distance from the physical realities of a Roman scourging and crucifixion. Coppo di Marcovaldo, Crucifix (c.1261). Pinocoteca Civita, San Gimingnano In the earliest crucifixes, the corpus is dressed in an ecclesiastical tunic and its outstretched arms do not bend with the weight of the body. Continue Reading