So, the other day, Kevin sent me this photo:
Creepy right? Well, what if I tell you this is the whole photo:
Creepier. Why? Those are Cardinals. This is the Vatican.
Created in 1977 by sculptor Pericle Fazzini, this work of art is in the Paul VI Audience Hall, where the Pope does his daily blessing if it’s raining in the square. This is the backdrop, a giant bronze statue called “The Resurrection.”
It is supposed to be a vision of Jesus resurrecting in the Second Coming, from the ashes of a nuclear crater in the Garden of Gethsemane. It took me a few to wrap my head around all this, honestly. Ok, I can buy that the Vatican wanted to have a sculpture depicting the resurrection; that hardly seems news. But then, there’s the nuclear attack thing…this was commissioned during the Cold War, so I understand the threat of nuclear attack then. Sadly, this is truly just as strong today as it was once, thanks to a certain Euro-Asian country with an itchy trigger finger. So, I enjoy the concept of Jesus coming at the “end of the world” to rise up and save humanity…y’know, as art. But then there’s the fact it’s in the Garden of Gethsemane…and I truly am not sure why. All the info I found told me that Fazzini chose it because it was Jesus’ last place of prayerful reflection. Ok…now I understand the piece. What do I not understand?
Why is this in the Vatican? It seems so much better suited for MOMA, in my mind. It reminds me of that old Sesame Street game: one of these things is not like the others. This is a sad, apocalyptic depiction of Christ, and while it is meant to be hopeful, I’m sorry…I just do not get that vibe. And honestly, I don’t want to. I think the feelings I get from this piece, such as fear, sadness, and devastation, resonate more with its features than hope. But what do I know? I’m not art scholar.
I just know I’ve been thinking about this piece for days. I went to do the research this morning and also found one of my favorite things: a conspiracy theory!! Lots of people think it’s actually a statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed demon worshipped by the Knights Templar. Others think the whole thing is about the devil, because of the serpentine structuring. My favorite brand of conspiracy theory is the Catholic Church kind. Do you know why? Because their theories have a terrible track record of actually being true.
Anyway. I just wanted to share this with you so it can take up space in your brain the way it has been in mine. Enjoy this image and information, and as always…