With a New Pope, a New Chance for Openness on Art and History Seems Missed

Mar 15, 2013 4:46PM
Pope Greets Businessman, 2012
Robert Mann Gallery

With Catholicism’s long connection with the arts, from Michelangelo making the Sistine Chapel a place of transcendence to the Vatican Museums’ huge troves of artifacts and art, it’s worth looking at how the incoming pope may feel about contemporary visual culture. Yet while the outgoing Pope Benedict XII was surprisingly open about art and even convened artists at the Vatican in order to improve relations, the prospects for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who will now be Pope Francis (he’ll become Pope Francis I once there’s a Pope Francis II), seem less promising.