Pope meets artists in the Sistine Chapel

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI met this morning in the Sistine Chapel with more than 250 artists from around the world.

Sitting in front of Michelangelo’s fresco of the Last Judgment, he reflected on the beauty of God and on the connection between beauty and hope.

(CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Pope Benedict told the artists:

You are the custodians of beauty: thanks to your talent, you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty!

Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity! And do not be afraid to approach the first and last source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty! Faith takes nothing away from your genius or your art: on the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them, it encourages them to cross the threshold and to contemplate with fascination and emotion the ultimate and definitive goal, the sun that does not set, the sun that illumines this present moment and makes it beautiful.

2 Responses

  1. Do you have any bogs on the Papal meeting with the artist? I think that would be very interesting to see what artist are saying. Many artist are very negative when it come to God. I am an artist and not apart of the Roman Catholic Church but a Reformed Catholic Church.

    Chuck Harris, RSJ

  2. Chuck;

    Were all of the artists who created the great body of sacred art during the renaissance strongly religious? Can we even know that to be true? I imagine they would have to publicly seem so, lest the patronage money stop coming, but I don’t think that such a personal faith is a pre-requisite. To require such would be the kind of “intentional fallacy” that is so often decried in modern times…that the artist would have to have a strong faith to express an image of strong faith. I think what the Pope is perhaps getting at is that artists need to consider beauty as a viable artistic expression.

    I would be interested in hearing how painters and sculptors see this question… as a composer (of sacred music) the understanding of beauty as a requirement is something of a given.

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