Holy Smoke

A plan to rescue Christian art

24 min listen

In This Episode

Few things are more depressing than the art, architecture and furnishings of the average modern church. The glorious aesthetic of light and colour of the Middle Ages and Renaissance has been replaced with an infantile modernist decor more suited to a primary school than a place of worship.

In the Catholic Church, especially, bishops who may privately have reasonably good taste happily commission cringeworthy 1970s-style art because they think it’s demanded by ‘the spirit of Vatican II’.

Is there any way Christian art can escape from the grip of mediocrity? My guest on this episode of Holy Smoke thinks there is. She’s the charismatic Rome-based art historian Dr Elizabeth Lev, whose TED talk about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is both erudite and, in places, hilarious. Liz’s plan to rescue Church art is ingenious and, I think, achievable. But to find out more you’ll have to listen to the podcast.


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