Friday, February 13, 2009

Vatican Museum - Commentary

I know this is highly inappropriate, making fun of classical artwork, but really I just can't help myself.

Let me start off by saying that if you get the chance to see the Vatican Museum, you should definitely do it. It's great. It gives you a really vivid image of what artwork was like back in the day, but it was from that image I noticed something.

Perhaps it has something to do with Catholicism at the time, but their depictions of certain biblical works are... odd. First of all, I don't think I saw an image of baby Jesus that didn't scare me. There were some renditions that... if I saw that baby alive I would shriek and run away screaming with terror. The proportions were crazy and his expressions were so off. They always painted him preaching about something too, even as an infant. Do they think he could talk at that age? I'm sure most of that is symbolic, but... it's unsettling to see.

Second is their depiction of Mary. I know she is a bigger deal in the Catholic faith, but really, I think some of the paintings are a little too much. Take this one for instance, "L'Annunciazione," by Federico Fiori. I snapped a bad picture of it really quick and had to warp it in Photoshop to make it look square. Sorry.

"L'Annunciazione" Federico Fiori

Angel: My Queen, are you busy? I picked you these flowers on my way here.
Mary: Oh no, not at all. I was just watching the sunset behind a nearby castle.
Angel: I have news from God.
Mary: Really? Hold on a second, let me put my book down. What is it?
Angel: You will give birth to a baby boy, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Mary: Why, that doesn't surprise me at all. In fact, I already knew this.

Okay, I was about to apologize for exaggerating, but look at the painting. I don't understand how something like this could be taken seriously. Yes, it's a beautiful painting and actually... the more I look at it the more attached I'm becoming (it really is nicely done). However, when put in to context... I feel like artist painted something completely different, then just called it l'Annunciazione to get funding or something.

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