Sundays press contains a very weird surprise, Waldemar at the Sunday Times discussing the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Why he asks, has the Vatican missed the 500year anniversary of Michelangelo's painting? Aesthetic concerns are not going to be a Vatican priority and why indeed should they be? He then asks some ill-considered questions about the real meaning of the ceiling, seemingly because he is so conceptually sophisticated he has lost the capacity to see. He raves on about the terror in the ceiling imagery as if this was news, the word terribilita specifically describes the feeling of religious awe and faith that Michelangelo was intent on conveying. This is not terror as in terrorist, it's a far more sophisticated concept and never once in the whole article does he mention that Michelangelo was on the cusp between the medieval mind and the renaissance, that the visually expressive power of his sculpture and painting is primarily medieval Gothic. There are more Michelangelo freaks out there than you can shake a stick at and Waldemar begins to sound like one in this text. Dan Brown pulp aside, the Sistine Chapel seems to provide ample food for conspiracy theorists, in our dim-witted visual culture we have lost the capacity to understand biblical and faith interpretation. Some of the net speculation is risible in it's misinterpretation of very obvious visual and ecclesiastical imagery. Just because it looks like a cat as the man said, it doesn't mean that it isn't a cat. So it goes with Waldemar speculating about pope JuliusII believing himself to be the branch. Most catholic scholars accept that Zachariah was referring to the messiah when he spoke of the branch in 560BC, he was foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ. There is no way even a renaissance pope, would have confused his own identity with that of Christ, it takes an art critic to do that.
Truth often is, that when people cease to believe they end up believing anything. The most sensible comment is the one that concludes the article, that the reason the Vatican don't wish to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the greatest painting in western art history is that it does not need to - it gets more than enough visitors and attention as it is!
Jeff Koons occupies Charles Darwent's attention at the Independent on Sunday although he really isn't worth the bother. Koons is a former wall street commodity broker who turned artist. The work he gets others to produce is risible despite the academics who have lavished their arcane verbal crap upon it's empty meaning over the past twenty years! The artist doesn't do subtlety, art, meaning or even entertainment - end of story! Those curators again - have gone to town showing him alongside Hellenistic marbles or Egyptian sarcophagi which can only end in pretentious crocodile tears. There is no intelligence whatsoever in attempting to compare works of art that have absolutely nothing in common, least of all a religious meaning and significance. We all deserve so much better.