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Encounter with otherness

Art begins in a meeting with something far greater and stronger than we, whether it is called destiny or inspiration. All the protagonists of this issue dedicated to women and art have met with this otherness which has determined their life. The encounter has suggested to them how to become communicators of beauty to underprivileged human beings for the purpose of alleviating their condition of suffering or has inspired the creation of works which – almost mysteriously and in spite of themselves – have later revealed their sacred nature. 

Isabella Ducrot, “Sacred bands 5” (2011, mixed technique on Tibetan fabrics)

Or else a true and proper architectural and artistic creation may be born from this conscious encounter, aimed at building God’s house, consciously thought of in such a way as to make his presence more perceptible to the human beings who cross its threshold. Even the manner in which we understand works of art has a history that can be infused with unexpected revelations. One such proposes a reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s most famous Pietà – to be found in St Peter’s – in a symbolic-female sense. Art is thus one of the paths that women take to speak of God and to God, a path that increasingly sees them as protagonists who are so important that it is impossible to forget or marginalize them, as has happened for far too long. It is a proof that women – just like men – are part of the history of God’s love for his creation. As Barbara Hallensleben recalls in her beautiful theological reflection that we are publishing this month, “the difference between men and women has to do with the image of himself that God reveals to us”. Hence every profound examination of this difference follows the trail of God’s mystery. For this very reason reflection on the role of women in art – especially in an art that is consciously open to spirituality – constitutes a new step in the discovery of how this difference becomes a spirit of creation and of the representation of human reality, as well as of the human relationship with the divine. In this case – as in many others – there is no talk of creating new roles for women but only of seeing and recognizing the long journey they have taken. (l.s.)

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 20, 2019

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