Making reference to art of the former centuries, Pope Benedict XVI stated (18
November, 2009) that sculpture and painting were destined to incite strong
impressions on the soul – sentiments that could terminate an existence of depravity
and evil, and invite the viewer to a life of virtue and a quest for the good. Stemming
from these demands on the artist, there have for centuries been born wonderful pieces
of art. We speak here not of a sterile beauty, but of a door that opens to a path
leading to Heaven. These works accompany the faithful in a time and space quite
separated from the ordinary life.
One may ask whether most Christian art today satisfies these aims and whether, to
borrow a phrase of the Holy Father, there is a "continuity" with the past. The paintings
presented here aim at beginning to answer these questions and to find alternative
ways forward that are better suited to express the message of Christ than what is
today termed "contemporary" or "commercial" art, which often at best accept Christ’s
crucifixion, but not His resurrection. This issue – which is largely a semantic
distinction – is especially vital to address in an age where the image has become the
king of communication.
The Faces of Christ Collection is not proscriptive, and there is a large diversity of
expression. What these pieces have in common is each artist’s courage to break with
the status quo, to create art with a reference to beauty, truth, and goodness and in
which Christ’s message is clearly, pastorally, and attractively presented. These are
painters who explore new ways that are in continuity with the past without copying it,
each within his own culture.
It is our hope that this initiative will help to re-light the torch of Christian art.