The BBC reports today: “A Vatican newspaper has forgiven the late English singer John Lennon for saying four decades ago that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. In an article praising The Beatles, L’Osservatore Romano said Lennon had just been showing off.” Story and archival video here.
Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday: “Never mind the Da Vinci Code — what about Michelangelo’s secret messages? On the 500th anniversary of the artist’s first climb up the ladder in 1508 to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a new book claims he embedded subversive messages in his spectacular frescoes — not only Jewish, Kabbalistic and pagan symbols but also insults directed at Pope Julius II, who commissioned the work, and references to his own sexuality.”
A fascinating story (here), and one that’s entirely plausible. The work of Michelangelo has captivated me for more than two decades — ever since standing at foot of the magnificent David, craning my neck for hours staring at the Sistine ceiling and reading multiple volumes about his life and works. He was a tortured genius, a man whose peerless talent was matched only by his otherwise joyless existence. Given his choice, the 3.5 years he spent painting the Sistine ceiling he gladly would’ve spent carving marble — the greatest passion of his artistic life before he was 30. But he had no choice. The tyrannical Pope Julius II made the artist a virtual indentured slave in demanding he paint the Sistine ceiling. Michelangelo’s early panels on the ceiling farthest from the altar wall are actually mediocre — the figures too small, the scenes too crowded. He never truly enjoyed fresco painting, but he soon mastered the extraordinarily difficult medium to produce one of the greatest works of art of all time.
In these highly politicized days (and years), it’s important to keep the life of Jesus Christ in its appropriate context, and not hijack his life or teaching for political ends — Republican or Democrat. Louis Moore, a well-known and well-regarded religious journalist in Houston, writes about this topic with grace and insight on his blog.
“So often we Christians try to re-shape Jesus into our image, like the Medieval artists who fashioned the famous artwork that makes Jesus and His disciples look like Venice merchant,” Moore writes, “in Medieval attire, complete with Medieval hairstyles, Medieval clothing, and so forth. American Christian leaders from both the left and the right have become adept at this same slight of hand. Each wants to re-make Jesus to match his or her own personal political preference.