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Vatican Curio: Weirdness and Wonder in the Pope's Museum

Overview

A parade of penises? A bounty of breasts? Headless monsters?

The Weird and Wonderful have piled up in the show palace of Catholicism, but this is also a treasure trove dripping with fabulous wealth. The Curators bought strange statues from foreign lands while biblical heroes took a back seat. Now the Vatican Museum is stocked with nudes, demons, and warriors. What were they thinking? Did the popes approve?

Did the nudity, violence, and monsters...

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Overview

A parade of penises? A bounty of breasts? Headless monsters?

The Weird and Wonderful have piled up in the show palace of Catholicism, but this is also a treasure trove dripping with fabulous wealth. The Curators bought strange statues from foreign lands while biblical heroes took a back seat. Now the Vatican Museum is stocked with nudes, demons, and warriors. What were they thinking? Did the popes approve?

Did the nudity, violence, and monsters fill up the Vatican Museum just by chance? Did Jesus and Mary get left out just by luck? Was the ingenious science of Galileo and da Vinci just forgotten?

Pauly Jansen brings a jaundiced eye to the hidden under-currents built up by centuries of Vatican Museum curators in this extraordinary tour through the house of the popes.................

So, what's new here? Vatican Curio takes a more direct approach than Bill Maher did in Religulous. Instead of interviewing the faithful, Curio drills into the statues to see what they are made of. Where Religulous puts the religious on the spot, Curio puts the Museum under the micro-scope. Bill Maher went to the street, but Pauly went to the Vatican. Curio brings the incisive approach of arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens, but makes light work of religion and science by using satirical humor.

Jansen uses a finely honed sense of logic to de-code the mysteries behind the art of the popes. But this is no dry academic essay on museum studies. It weaves a thread of comedy into the ancient arts, keeping the pace as light as the marble is cool................

Is god's bare bum really up there on the chapel ceiling? The debate rages on, but Pauly cuts through the stuffy air to see if Michelangelo duped the popes. (Try to say "pope dupe" 3 times fast.) His digital camera undergoes a mysterious malfunction in the process...........

Vatican Curio is more than juvenile comedy, though. It probes the religious symbolism within the Vatican collections, taking a sober view of the Egyptian demi-gods and the sea of satyrs that have crowded out Jesus and Mary. Has the church connected the dots between Medusa, Jesus, and the Greeks?

Most critically, Jansen digs into the signals sent by dozens of Vatican Museum curators as they built their lavish collections. Since the 16th century, weird dark patterns have emerged and taken hold, sometimes to chilling effect. Beheadings, half-man gods, and frolicking animals run rampant, while the Italian genius of da Vinci and Galileo are shunned.

This is remarkable art, but someone has some explaining to do. Vatican Curio starts the inquiry.

44 full color photos capture the surreal Vatican experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781492740971
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 9/16/2013
  • Pages: 108
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Pauly was born near Scarsdale where he was soon taunted for being Catholic, for being Jewish, and for not knowing the difference. He credits this contradictory harassment for sharpening his sense of satire as well as launching his extraordinary career as an international author of three small books.

Jansen has long been suspected of living around Niagara Falls, as he is often seen gazing in deep admiration at the wax museum.

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