David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

02 May 2017


White on White : Jesus the Logos blesses the host


           A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
           someone looks at something... 
           LOGOS/HA HA 

White on White : The Sacrament of the Eucharist
White on White : Holy Communion
White on White : The Transubstantion

White on White : Pope Francis 

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We are enjoying the HBO series The Young Pope
Like The West Wing does The Vatican : What if...?
Mad Men, too. Lots more.

Episode 2 presented us this instructive exchange between Sophia, the Vatican Director of Marketing, and Lenny, the young Pope Pious XIII.

- (Sofia) : As you know, Your Holiness, the Vatican holds a monopoly on the production of any and all merchandise with an image of the Pope on it. Today's papal turnover requires us to come up with new designs, which we will then need to get into production as quickly as possible. All those items with the Holy Father's picture on them, which the faithful just love and which make up a sizable slice of the Vatican budget.
- (The Young Pope) : I see. Go on.
- What would be required then is a brief photo shoot, which will then enable us to get into production as soon as possible a series of items displaying Your Holiness's picture: key chains, postcards, ashtrays, lighters, picture cards, plates
- Plates?
- Yes, of course, Holy Father, plates too. In addition to the usual plastic plates, which sell for five euro, we were thinking of something more refined. It occurred to us that we might commission a special plate from Vietri, in Campania. The craftsmen there do the most marvelous decorations, so naturally we were thinking of creating a plate with your portrait right in the center, painted by the very best Vietri's craftsmen.
- Nice. And how much would it sell for?
- Forty-five euro, at least.
- Ah, a reasonable price.
- I would say so, considering that we're talking about a craftsmanship, Holy Father, handmade, not some cheap factory production.
- (Cardinal Voiello) : Perhaps we could send one to all the heads of State.
- (Sophia) : An excellent idea, Your Eminence.
- (The Young Pope) : Good, very good.
- Very good.
- Good.
- Very good.
- Yes, very, very good.
- Very, very good.
- Good.
- (The Young Pope) : Wait a minute. I'll be right back. (Leaves the room.)

- (Sofia) : Good. Where did he go?
- (Cardinal Voiello) : To get a gun, I imagine.
- (Sofia) : Come on! It went fine.

- (The Young Pope returns) : Do you see this plate, ma'am?
- Yes of course I see it.
- Good. This is the sort of merchandise I'm prepared to authorise.
- But it doesn't have your image on it!

- (The Young Pope) : I do not have an image, my good lady, because I am no one. Do you understand? No one. Only Christ exists. Only Christ. And I'm not worth forty-five, or even five euros. I am worth nothing.
- (Sophia) : I don't understand, Holy Father.
- Of course you don't, because, as you said earlier, you studied at Harvard. And Harvard is a place in decline, where you were taught to lower yourselves. Whereas here, in the Vatican, we try to elevate ourselves.

- (The Young Pope) : Who exactly is in charge of curating the image of the Pope?

- (Sophia) : The Secretary of State entrusted that delicate task to me, Holy Father, two years ago.

- (The Young Pope) : Very good. And now I'm going to tell you what you, as curator of the image of the Holy Father, are gonna do. You are gonna fire the Vatican's official photographer immediately. No photographs of the Pope are to be issued. Just as there were none when I was a cardinal or a bishop. Do you know why? I never allowed my picture to be taken. And when someone manage to sneak a photograph of me, I always bought them up before they could be published. Now that I think about it, I've been training my whole life to be an invisible pope.
And so, for my first address, you will see to it that the light is so dim, no photographer, no TV cameraman, and not even the faithful will see anything of me but a dark shadow, my silhouette.
They will not see me because I do not exist.
- (Sofia) : If I may, Holy Father, what you are proposing is nothing short of suicide, media suicide.

- (The Young Pope) : Media suicide, you say? Fine, now try to keep up with me, if you can.
- I'm right with you, Holy Father.
- Good. Ok, so, who is the most important author of the last twenty years? Careful now, not the best, virtuosity is for the arrogant, the most important, the author who has sparked so much morbid curiosity that he became the most important? I wouldn't know. I'd say Philip Roth.
- No. Salinger.
- The most important film director?
- Spielberg.
- No. Kubrick. Contemporary artist?
- Jeff Koons. Or Marina Abramovic.
- Banksy.
- Electronic music group?
- I don't know the first thing about electronic music.
- You say Harvard is a good university! Anyway, Daft Punk.
- (Cardinal Voiello) : The best Italian female vocalist?
- Mina?
- Very good!
- (The Young Pope) : Now do you know what it is, what the invisible red thread is that connects them all, all these most important figures in their respective fields? None of them let themselves be seen. None of them let themselves be photographed.
- (Cardinal Voiello) : But you're not an artist, Holy Father. You are a head of State.
- (The Young Pope) : Yes, of a city state so small that it has no outlet to the sea, and in order to survive, its leader has to make himself as unreachable as a rock star. The Vatican survives thanks to hyperbole. So we, we shall generate hyperbole, but this time in reverse.
- (Sophia) : I'm beginning to get your point, Holy Father. Yes, not only am I beginning to get it, I'm beginning to like it, too.
- Good, very good.

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
click image to enlarge  
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...