Saturday, May 28, 2011

Christian's Ask, "Does Nudity Belong in Religious Art?"

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
"Last Judgement" by Michelangelo
UTAH - The Rev. France Davis doesn’t want any nude Adam-and-Eve figures in his Salt Lake City church — even if they were painted by the famed Michelangelo himself. Davis is unequivocal in his view that there is nothing inspiring or redeeming about naked figures in religious art. “Since we sinned, as it says in the book of Genesis, the human body has certain parts that are private,” says the outspoken pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. For other Christians, though, when to celebrate or eschew artistic nudity is not that easy nor clear-cut.

Pope Benedict XVI recently praised the use of nudity in the 16th-century masterpiece, The Last Judgment. “The bodies painted by Michelangelo are filled with light, life and splendor,” the pope said in a news story from Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “He wanted to show that our bodies contain a mystery: within them the spirit is manifest.” When the Rev. Sam Wheatley was leading a congregation in Atlanta, the group decided to engage area artists by creating a gallery in the church foyer to display their creations. They produced works that coincided with Wheatley’s sermons and then a jury of their peers decided which ones to exhibit. The question immediately arose: What about pieces with nudity? [link]