2014-10-14 11:09:00

Paul VI : patron of art and artists

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Museum’s Collection of Modern Art was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI on June 23, 1973 in an effort to envisage  ‘sacred art’ in times to come. On the eve of the beatification of Paul VI on Sunday October 19, an exhibition focusing on this Collection is being inaugurated in the Charlemagne wing of Saint Peter’s Basilica. As from Friday this exhibition, by the title of ‘Paul VI and artists: ‘You are the custodians of beauty in the world’, will be open to visitors.

This event provides Veronica Scarisbrick with an opportunity to focus on the memorable occasion when Pope Paul VI called artists to gather around him in the Sistine Chapel to renew and seal the sodality between Church and art saying: “We must leave to your voices the strong and powerful song of which you are capable”.

Listen to this programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick: 


It was May 7, 1964 and during his homily at mass Paul VI is out to provoke. He knows all too well that for centuries the Church and artists have enjoyed an extremely prolific love affair but that for almost two centuries there had been a marked decline in that relationship.

While Paul VI chastises artists for having abandoned the Church he also admits to the Church's responsibility, its failure to foster art. A failure that brought the Church’s image as patron of art and artists to an end, one he attributes to a clash between the  boundless creativity of artists and the Church’s imposition of styles and limiting rules and regulations in the field of art.

Among the guests in this programme, in which you can hear sound clips of Paul VI speaking in Italian, are the late Cardinal Edmund Szoka who knew Pope Paul VI personally and Monsignor  Peter Fleetwood who places the Pope’s homily on this occasion into context.

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