Where is the Papacy with Contemporary Art?
By Christopher Lamb and Nicholas Ross
13th January 2021 6pm

Where would art history be without The Church? Week in, week out we look at images about Christianity without imagining history without them.  And yet, in the 20th Century, the church barely appears in the canon of art history.  So, with Christopher Lamb, one of the principle correspondents of the Vatican in the English speaking world, we will explore this fascinating topic.

So often I hear from frustrated visitors to the Vatican that they took ‘the wrong route’ to the Sistine Chapel and ended up going through room after room of modern art.  Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Otto Dix, Bacon and Van Gogh are all passed without a backward glance or curiosity as to how they got there, who commissioned them and if the Roman Church has a policy towards art.

Two key figures emerge.  Paul VI, who in 1964 initiated a new policy and the present Pope Francis, who has made connections with the Venice Biennale and uses art as a diplomatic tool for communication and improved relations with China.  As we have so often noticed, the careful examination of tender aesthetics is usually as revealing as the examination of hard politics. As we search for engaging and unlikely aspects of the visual world, we hope you will join us once again.

Christopher Lamb

Christopher is a permanently accredited Vatican correspondent who regularly travels with Pope Francis as the Rome Correspondent for The Tablet.  He is also a regular contributor to the BBC and last year appeared in the BBC Two documentary “Inside the Vatican”.  He studied Theology at Durham having been a student of AHA in 2002.  At the beginning of lockdown he published ‘The Outsider’ which explores Pope Francis as a prophetic Pope, adored and attacked in almost equal measure.  The aim is that Christopher and Nick will speak together, exploring the aesthetic and contextual aspects of this topic.

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