Rome is not outside me, but inside me.. Her feverish sweetness, her tragic countryside, her own beauty and harmony, all these are mine, for my thought and my work.
Last week I watched as the introduction of Pope Francis, Papa Francesco, was announced to over the one hundred thousand people waiting outside of the Vatican – praying – chanting – hoping – crying. I’m not a religious woman although I grew up Catholic but I found myself glued to my computer – hoping along with the rest. I no longer belong to the faith though my sense of tradition, as well as my academic interest in religious doctrine is strong.
Interestingly enough, while I waited for the announcement I had also been researching an artist I had long forgotten about – Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian born Jewish artist who died tragically at the young age of thirty-five. I’m in the process of playing with techniques and styles and have been painting a Modigliani-like woman. On a side note, Amedeo is the last name of my Godmother and Francis is the name my brother (since passed away) took when he was confirmed in the Catholic church.
As I sat and watched Papa Francesco smile at his flock I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind.
How I connected Amedeo Modigliani and Papa Francesco is simply a matter of coincidence really. But right before his name was announced I had read a quote from Eugenie Garsin – Modigliani’s mother, in which she stated, “The child’s character is still so unformed that I cannot say what I think of it. He behaves like a spoiled child, but he does not lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps an artist?”
And then after reading her words, a second later there was a new Pope looking out on the square and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe as he looked down he thought, “they behave like spoiled children, but don’t lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps artists?”