Friday, January 05, 2007

Art and what it says...

Blessed Art Thou

Hmm.. Today's local paper had an article about this painting.. under the heading of Blessed Angelina.. (here is link to the blog by artist, Kate Kretz.)

Angelina Jolie has been turned into the Virgin Mary in a controversial new painting by artist Kate Kretz.
The actress and humanitarian is depicted as the mother of Jesus Christ, while her adopted kids Maddox and Zahara and biological baby Shiloh are featured as angels in the piece, titled Blessed Art Thou.
The painting, which will be unveiled at the Art Miami Fair today, addresses "the cycle of celebrity worship" and depicts Jolie in a flowing gown hovering in the clouds above a dimly lit shopping store, populated by shoppers.
Kretz, who spent five months creating the painting, says, "Our culture is deifying celebrities, but, in the Bible, it is the meek who are blessed, so the title presents a question for the viewer to ponder.
"Angelina Jolie was chosen as the subject because of her unavoidable presence in the media, the world-wide anticipation of her child, her unattainable beauty and the good that she is doing in the world through her example, which adds another layer to the already complicated questions surrounding her status."
Kretz, a former professor, reveals her virgin [Jolie] and Zahara figures are loosely based on a painting by Sir Anthony Von Dyck, while Maddox's pose is borrowed from a painting by Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael.
January 5, 2007
24 hours

So the explanation is that it is a "food for thought" regarding the deification of celebrities. Interesting .. considering an article in the Vancouver Sun a few days ago with headline that celebrities are not health experts and yet people look to them as models on everything from dieting to exercise advice.

This reminds me of other artworks I have seen over the years.

An ad for the Catholic priesthood based on Matrix style pose, an effort to attract candidates to the dying vocation. I saw this picture in a newspaper with an article explaining the rationale. It said something to the effect of "the appeal of religious vocation is dying out and hence there was an attempt to make it look adventurous, daring, exciting.. etc."

'A tribute to women' ... The Last Supper advertisement for Marithé and François Girbaud

This is from an ad for clothing from a Parisian company... banned for defaming the Christian faith.

Milan bans Da Vinci parody February 4, 2005 (Excerpt)

Their decision follows a ruling by the city advertising watchdog last month. This Last Supper "inevitably recalls the very foundations of the Christian faith", said the Istituto di Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria. "This kind of image, with a high concentration of theological symbols, cannot be recreated and paro died for commercial ends without offending the religious sensitivities of at least part of the population."
"One of the women apostles is kissing the naked torso of a man, which just makes the imitation more offensive. As does the use of Christian symbols like the dove, the chalice and the position of the fingers of the female Christ."

Of course, there are other interesting interpretations of art in the "deification" or use of religious genre that have sparked interest, or controversy. Interesting that it is often controversy that sparks our vocalization in the interest of protecting the Christian faith, but rarely is there a unified voice otherwise. It is hard to define this issue as spirituality and faith are a personal issue. We are not to judge others for our difference of opinion, but are encouraged to attempt dialogue versus debate.

Interesting isn't it? As the point of art is usually to make a point about some aspect of society/cultural norms, and to spark thinking about the definition of norms and rationale behind current thinking/behavior.

Thoughts anyone?

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