Contemporary Art at the Vatican? Pope Francis Shares His Views on Art in New Documentary

A new documentary, Pope Francis: My Idea of Art, gives the leader of the Catholic church the chance to share his thoughts on art. The film is based on his 2015 book of the same name, co-written with Tiziana Lupi.

“The Vatican Museums have to be the most beautiful place and the most hospitable. It must throw open its doors to the world,” wrote the Pope in his book, noting that based on the teaching of the Bible, the poor’s inability to pay should not prevent them from seeing the church’s impressive art collection.

Known for his progressive views—in 2016 the pontiff told Christians to apologize for their treatment of gays, who he says the church should embrace—Pope Francis also hopes to have the church, historically perhaps the world’s most important art patron, once again work closely with contemporary artists to harness the evangelizing power of art.

“The art of mercy is truly Pope Francis’s idea of art. It is art that is directed toward the humble,” said Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums, at a press screening of the film on June 27, as reported by Vatican Radio. “And the Vatican Museums correspond directly to the Pope’s message on art.”

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Chris Alexakisart