Posted by: cctracker | March 18, 2013

Andrew Sullivan: A Pope for the “Glorious Wounded Mess of Humanity”

I’m teaching the early Renaissance today, kicking off the unit with a few glimpses of the marvelous, human revolution in art sparked by Giotto.

In one of those strange moments of convergence when around every corner you unexpectedly keep bumping into things you were already thinking about, I found myself staring at Giotto’s fresco of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey when I opened my e-mail this afternoon.

A friend had sent me this recent column from Andrew Sullivan at The Dish. Sullivan is a Catholic I’m always happy to find still with me in the fold. And his comments about what we learn “on the bus” reminded me of how much I get out of bus rides. An entry I wrote in this blog last year was on the same subject.

The Pope continues to be at the center of Catholic conversation, not only in the media, but at the proverbial water cooler. A maintenance staff member at our school today could hardly contain his joy at the news that a day for simpler folks and a more modest approach to ceremony might be dawning in the Church.

I wonder if Giotto’s frescoes didn’t  electrify–or alienate–in a similar way the hearts and minds of those who saw them for the first time.

Giotto Cimabue

The  halos and angels are still there, but unlike the medieval iconography that  held sway in sacred art for 500 years, he enshrines the details of daily life; his faces capture the drama of authentic human emotions. His works say, like the example of a Pope who rides the bus: “He is one of us.”


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