The exhibition of the sacred vestments in New York: evolution or involution of the Catholic Christian message to the community

EXHIBITION OF SACRED PARAMENTS NEW YORK: INVOLUTION EVOLUTION AND THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE TO CATHOLIC COMMUNITY

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True purpose of the exhibition in New York seems to be so the devil and holy water, The sacred and the profane, while the beautiful and the sacred ends outclassed by the desire to discuss, to get into the news and to be part of a system gossip that has the flavor of blasphemy, where the sacred ends badly subjected to the worst worldly profanity.

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Author
Licia Oddo *.

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was it really necessary?

What clothing, the the costume expression of a fashion, follow its course over time, which branch looks more fashion, whimsical, of artistic creativity there is no doubt. But when to be involved is the religious sphere and more specifically Catholic, until it became protagonist or subject of the parades glamour, things change, generating in fact striking and controversial situations. Especially if a promoter of such initiative "singular" is Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which world premiere presented in the Roman gallery of Palazzo Colonna [see WHO and WHO], next to the iconic Anna Wintour, director of the magazine Vogue, the event "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination» (Celestial bodies: fashion and Catholic imagination). The subject of this exhibition organized by the 10 May to October 8 in New York in Metropolitan Museum of Art It is the dialogue between the sacred and the profane, fashion and vestments [see WHO, WHO and WHO].

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Between 150 created outfits to this by stylists more in vogue of ' high fashion, to spread through their Christian icons creations, stands the rich cross of precious stones printed on the bodice of a dress designed by Gianni Versace. Picture bound to create a stir, because the cross is represented outside of what is the natural framework for worship. In the statement Met Cloister, a separate wing of the museum that includes five ancient cloisters scattered in’ Upper Manhattan, stand on the garments, forty to be exact, never left before the sacristy of the chapel.

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In his presentation, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi says:

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"Vesta, indeed, is not merely a garment that protects us from cold or heat or nudity, for another valid function, already recognized by the Bible to the beginnings of humanity. But, as it is clear from the creativity of fashion and linguistic connection between Latin clothing, "You know", and "investiture" - this word in many European languages ​​to indicate the appointment to an official post - the dress, through its symbolic dimension, It belongs to the same culture and expresses " […] "The parade of forty robes and vestments vaticani present in the exhibition Heavenly Bodie deserve, then, to be properly classified under the category of "catholic imagination» […] The selection offered by the exhibit is marked by sumptuous undoubted quality: it has been enhanced in the Baroque period but remained liturgical ornamentation of later centuries. He wanted, so, in this way proclaim the divine transcendence, the sacral separation of religion from everyday ordinariness, the splendor of the mystery.[cf. WHO].

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Unfortunately,, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, almost immediately he contradicts himself in the same written when he asserts:

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"Of course, always hanging over ritual and, therefore, Christian liturgical on the apparatus the admonition of Jesus who quipped on external observant that "broader headbands and longer tassels", ie tefillin and tallit, members of the Jewish cult [Mt. 23,5]. It remains, indeed, Also in the sacred rite is a risk that will signal the English writer William Hazlitt in his essay Del clerical character (1818) “Those who dress a principal part of themselves end up in general to not be worth more than their clothes”. However the beauty and the art have been for centuries inseparable sisters of the faith and of Christian liturgy, especially in Catholicism and Orthodoxy And - as did Henri Matisse with its wonderful chasubles he designed for the Vence chapel and now preserved in the Vatican Museums - this bond will continue to revive and renew itself through the dialogue to the art Contemporary" [cf. WHO].

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It seems that the Cardinal immediately correct his version almost referring to the motto: "In short, do not fool yourself too seriously, the dress does not make the priest"! So what has he expressed before, with respect to the etymological meaning of the word as?

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Wanting but there is more, because they say sacral that is not the reflection of the one who dresses him dress, it is inaccurate. It is indeed worth noting that the festive character expressed by the decorum of the robe of the priest who presides over the Eucharist, It becomes a constant celebration, as well as the model of the same suit [CF. WHO]. And indeed, when in the seventh century, the century-old fashion changes, the religious habit of the priest does not change, indeed become characteristic to the celebration to which it is reserved. No symbolism there is therefore the origin of the liturgical vestment, but the desire to emphasize the respect due, both for the liturgical celebration and for any other type of social gathering. The dress so assume the function of a divided appropriately worn, that does not show a simple feature, but the same sacred character, because it frees the individual from his peculiarities and makes “reflection” of Him in person of which he is acting. Even the dress so it ritualizes, abstracting from the singular and offering through "the role" a transcendental image.

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In the thirteenth century, it is spread through symbols Giuseppe Braun [1] who loves typical-Representative because in it the person of the priest is the Savior's suffering, and the priest's robes reminiscent of the special events of the passion death and resurrection of Christ. The contemplation of this varied symbolism claimed the attention and devotion of the faithful, assisting patients to Mass, in a rich context of devotion which reveals the answer in sacred things even doctrinal their spiritual needs.

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Logically, the past centuries which ensure that our cultural tradition, based not on simple ideals but on precepts that highlight the canonical aspect of that which is the Catholic religion, can not be modified to be dragged into the ocean of "fads" that, as sources of creativity, they have nothing to do with the stability and soundness of a sacred vestment of traditio catholica, He born and then consumed for that role. Feeling that Catholic sacred clothing is a social phenomenon is a degeneration of the Western folk costume, which it boasts the ancient tradition of a Catholic creed enshrined in 325 at the Council of Nicaea. Since, vestments, They have risen to a specific rich in symbolism Mystagogical meaning they have nothing to do with the fashion set to change with the changing society and tastes. The Church, pastorally, It follows the times, but no changes the truth of revealed faith; because the pilgrim Church is projected beyond time toward an eschatological dimension of eternity.

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In this parade the models do not feature the chic dress, the fashion tailors, od the cap from cocktail for the afternoons outdoors or for gala evenings, but they are coated with the hangings traditio catholica, in an environment totally alien and antithetical to faith on which this tradition If built, It ends with the figure as a total lack of respect for the sacred art. In the light of all this, as a historian I run the obligation to point out that in this "show of the century" has been distorted, de-qualified and even changed the very meaning of some basic concepts of art. For if we believe that among the liturgical vestments in general, chasubles and stoles gowns, there are the tiaras, the miter and the pastoral, classified as «iconographic attributes» because symbolically recognition emblems of a given figure who occupies a role of holiness, It is obvious that as soon as these liturgical accessories are delivered to any woman who plows through a walkway, the viewer ends up of arising a real confusion in the perception of what is presented to his sight. No more so that in the pastoral Pala di Brera identified John the Baptist [see WHO], or that identifies the miter, the bishop, but liturgical accessories emptied of their meaning mystagogical and finished him with a Model. And before all this, we should wonder about the role played today by the Catholic Church in the dissemination of his message to the community.

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Again we read in an article about this exhibition:

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"The exhibition takes visitors to explore the boundaries between the sacred and the profane: the crown of thorns, transformed into fascinator da Alexander McQueen, the iconic Byzantine masterpieces played by Dolce & Gabbana in the collection “Monreale” autumn winter 2013/14. “We tell little stories”, Bolton says, curator of the exhibition, as with the Angel by Thierry Mugler from golden feathers or wings “Giovanna D'Arco” of 1994 John Galliano, lying like a funerary monument of a church. Sacred and profane occupy separate spaces. The Vatican loans - among them the red shoes of John Paul II - are on display in the Constume Institute, “shows in the exhibition” compared to the rest of the event where the iconic “professed” Sorelle Fontana evokes the surreal ecclesiastical fashion show in Rome by Federico Fellini with prelates on skates " [cf. WHO].

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Whether a layman to make use of extravagant combination sacred and the profane, as in the case of the stylist, no doubt it is curious, as well as reckless, but most seem to have as its goal to impress the public to make headlines and news with such sentences: Only Santa pray for us «Praised clothes and blessed the shoes. Ours is not a job, but a vocation». Thus, his debut fact Stefano Gabbana at the end of autumn and winter fashion show 2018, entitled Fashion Devotion [cf. WHO]. One show where were presented on the catwalk T-shirt with the slogans "Santa Fashion, Pray for us», «Fashion sinner», «Fashion Eden» e «Fashion is beauty"Along with pants style guêpière, black lace skirts and mini dress tight.

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(C)He But both a cardinal in charge of the presidency of the Pontifical the Holy See's Council, to buckle to the generic meaning of the sacred word all "instruments"Catholics and vestments in the large loop of the sacred, instead irreverent, does nothing but leave dismayed and incredulous. The liturgical vestments, as defined in traditio catholica to differentiate them from those sacred in general, full of history, cultural values, for centuries kept in the Sacristy of the Sistine Chapel, line the walkways and end up worn by anyone. And all this because? What is the sense of the Catholic message?

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While a time what emerged in the artistic world it was just the competition in search of beauty within the same ecclesial and ecclesiastical world, contemporary post, Perhaps the Church requires a different role? The Church, For centuries great patron of the arts, It seems to be looking for these expressions of aesthetic beauty to represent the sacred and the sacred mysteries in general, but what makes the most noise, or worse than what makes the most discussed. In all this the paradox is that the Church seems to satisfy this kind of worldly desire losing the role of teacher, to accept the compromises of a society that wants at all costs to appear in the most bizarre way possible.

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In light of this exhibition still ongoing in New York, What emerged artistically, through the involvement of the Catholic Church? What seems to emerge is that the so-called mix of "Styles" or clothing that has generated a contamination between fashion and faith. All this perhaps to go in step with the times, thanks to a Church that bends to the whims of society or fashion?

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Witnessing the presentation of an exhibition like this, desired by the director of Vogue America Anna Wintour, character described in the film cult She inspired to The devil wears Prada, whose protagonist is a woman devoted to cynically any action in order to achieve their intended purpose and whose moral "unresolved" is to meet the success forgetting the true values, It does not square at all with the Catholic Church, robe and role of which is certainly the opposite of that of Anna Wintour. Two antithetical figures in comparison, thesis and antithesis. But the amazing thing is that in this case, however, are accomplices, or to use the title of another film: Friends, accomplices, lovers.

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True purpose of the exhibition in New York seems to be so the devil and holy water, The sacred and the profane, while the beautiful and the sacred ends outclassed by the desire to discuss, to get into the news and to be part of a system gossip that has the flavor of blasphemy, where the sacred ends badly subjected to the worst worldly profanity.

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Syracuse, 14 May 2018

 

 

*art historian

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[1]CF, G. Braun, The vestments. They use history and symbolism, Marietti, Turin 1914.

 

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One thought on "The exhibition of the sacred vestments in New York: evolution or involution of the Catholic Christian message to the community

  1. Licia face,

    November “dismayed” and “incredulous”?… I would not say… da un po’ of time to this part, we usually see everything and more, nell'ammaloramento of our Catholic Church. On the contrary, it is good that these positions are well out in the sunlight. It will be the Lord of the Vineyard, to separate the weeds from the wheat. And then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…

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