A parade of penises? A bounty of breasts? Strange tastes and cultural dead-ends consume a great deal of the show palace of Catholicism, but this is also a treasure trove dripping with fabulous wealth. What can it mean?
Did the nudity, violence, and monsters pile up in the Vatican Museum just by chance? Did Jesus and Mary get left out just by luck? Someone has some explaining to do. More
What were they thinking? The Vatican Museum is stocked with nudes, demons, and warriors. The curators brought strange statues from foreign lands while biblical heroes took a back seat.
A parade of penises? A bounty of breasts? Strange tastes and cultural dead-ends consume a great deal of the show palace of Catholicism, but this is also a treasure trove dripping with fabulous wealth. What can it mean? Did the nudity, violence, and monsters pile up in the Vatican Museum just by chance? Did Jesus and Mary get left out just by luck? Was the ingenious science of Galileo and da Vinci just forgotten? Pauly Jansen brings a jaundiced eye to the hidden under-currents built up by centuries of Vatican Museum curators in this extraordinary tour through the palace of the popes.
So what's new here? Vatican Curio takes a more direct approach, for example, than Bill Maher did in Religulous. Instead of interviewing the faithful, Curio drills into the statues to see what they are made of. Where Religulous puts the religious on the spot, Curio puts the Museum under the micro-scope. Bill Maher went to the street, but Pauly went to the Vatican. Curio brings the incisive approach of arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens, but makes light work of religion and science by using satirical humor. In Vatican Curio, Pauly Jansen uses a finely honed sense of logic to de-code the mysteries behind the art of the popes. But this is no dry academic essay on museum studies. It weaves a thread of comedy into the ancient arts, keeping the pace as light as the marble is cool.
Is god's bare bum really up there on the chapel ceiling? The debate rages on, but Pauly cuts through the stuffy air to see if Michelangelo duped the popes. (Try to say “pope dupe” 3 times fast.) His digital camera undergoes a mysterious malfunction in the process.
Vatican Curio is no mere juvenile comedy, though. It probes the religious symbolism within the Vatican collections, taking a sober view of the Egyptian demi-gods and the sea of satyrs that have crowded out Jesus and Mary. Has the church connected the dots between Medusa, Jesus, and the Greeks? Did centuries of popes approve? Most critically, Curio studies the signals being sent by dozens of Vatican Museum curators as they built their lavish collections. Since the 16th century, weird dark patterns have emerged and taken hold, sometimes to chilling effect. Be-headings, half-man gods, and frolicking animals run rampant, while the Italian genius of da Vinci and Galileo are shunned. This is remarkable art, but someone has some explaining to do. Vatican Curio starts the inquiry. 44 full color photos capture the surreal Vatican experience.