Sunday, May 8, 2016

Holy Name is Hellish

"Mary" by Luca Luchetti

The other night we went inside Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago after Mass was over. There were a few faithful praying but most people had gone home. 

It was the first time I had been inside Holy Name when it had been virtually empty. And I saw things I had never before seen.

Let's not mince words. It's not that some of the the art inside is ugly. It's that it's grotesque. Horrific. Twisted. It's like an illustration from an H.P. Lovecraft story.

The picture above is the Shrine of the Blessed Mother, or rather the bronze sculpture of her at the back of the shrine. It is by an Italian sculptor named Luca Luchetti. To me, Mary looks like she is at the center of some sort of web. Is she sending out pseudopods? Or are they entwining her, perhaps to create an exact duplicate that will manifest in the morning?

My wife said it looked like Mary in Hell.

The supporting figure at the top left has a sloped and pointy head like some sort of alien. Is he an angel? A demon with bat wings? Or is it just our eyes inferring a figure out of what is really just part of the web?


Even Mary's expression does not look particularly benign.


Some of you may know I have a side gig as a fantasy and science fiction game designer. So I know a bit about the illustrations contained in some of the classic games. I was trying to place who "Mary" reminded me of. Then it hit me. It's Lolth, the "Queen of the Demonweb Pits," a spider goddess worshipped by the Dark Elves in Dungeons & Dragons.
"Lolth" by Sam Wood
No, I don't think the fact that the figure in Holy Name resembles Lolth is funny. Off course I think it's awful.

As I understand it, Holy Name was closed for a year-and-a-half in the late 1960's so they could remodel it in true Dario Argento style.

One approving recent commenter writes:
Like most of Holy Name’s art, the modern enables relatability.
No. It enables angst, confusion, doubt and even fear.

Not "relatability" but repulsion.

Holy Name is hellish.

25 comments:

  1. Keep calling out the diabolical. Thank you. Holy Mary, Ever Beautiful Virgin, crush the head of the serpent.

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  2. Agree. Most official Catholic religious art following Vatican II contains a spirit of rejection of tradition while embracing the spirit of the world, i.e., satan.

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  3. Oh, I dunno. I think modern people could relate pretty well to Lolth.

    Quite a bit better than they could to Our Blessed Mother.

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  4. One of my faves (NOT) is the 'Resurrection' monstrosity in PPVI Audience Hall. Jesus rising from a nuclear explosion in the Garden of Gethsemane. (?)
    See it here: https://youtu.be/PcR85Ojhx6M

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Apparently it is by Pericle Fazzini. But he has the same style as Luchetti. What is it with these Italians?

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    2. Both completely awful....

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  5. Step 1: Remove all additions made to the Cathedral since 1962.
    Step 2: Remove all archbishops in place since 2014, for appointment as nuncio to Antarctica.
    Step 3: Exorcise the building.
    Step 4: Repeat as necessary.

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  6. I'll bet this is the icon of the American Catholic Council, Call to Action, and other dissent groups. It illustrates graphically the way they spread their lies to ensnare clueless Catholics with their demonic agenda.

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    Replies
    1. No, this is the *official* "renewal" in action. Blaming CTA puts the blame where it doesn't belong. Hideous sculptures like Our Lady of Star Trek

      http://www.ncregister.com/blog/steven-greydanus/bad-church-art

      or the Barbed-Wire Resurrection

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2zWEM-9Vq8




      are official examples of the Uglification of the Church. CTA cannot be blamed for them.

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  7. Why should Catholics wish to pray in the churches that have been gutted and brought "up-to-date" with the Spirit of Vatican II? What holiness is left in them? Even assuming there is a valid consecration, which is a huge assumnption in the Novus Ordo rite, the Blessed Sacrament is usually shunted off somehwere in some side room where no one has to be bothered by It's presence. God forgive the Modernists and convert them quickly!

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    Replies
    1. The Spirit of Vatican II . . . Valid consecration . . . I think you're making an interesting point.

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  8. What I most intensely dislike is that it looks like it was meant to look like it is carved from bone, a setting completely unsuited to Our Lady.

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  9. That thing is hideous. Somebody, probably dead now deserves an openhanded slap across the mouth for daring to install it.

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  10. Creepy as hell. That ain't the BVM.
    I'm

    Seattle Kim

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  11. There's even more Oakes!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjLV1f1mnrw

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  12. Thanks! Yeah, I remember reading the transcript of this, or something like it. At the time it seemed over the top and conspiratorial. But I feel differently now.

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  13. So then the question becomes how does the whole thing work? Who did that marble? Did Bernardin call up some guy in the Yellow Pages and say, "I'd like to order some demonic marble, please?" Or do people go along with this sort of thing while perhaps being sort of unconscious of it?

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  14. I feel a Catholic-themed horror story coming on.

    I think Lolth owes something to Shelob the Great, or maybe to her mum, Ungoliant. Where is Earendil the Blessed when you want him ?

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  15. It looks to me like an underworld tree root priestess with her root nymphs and demons. Yes, that is definitely a demon, very similar to the artist you linked to...reptile eyes were also showcased on the facade of St. Peters Basilica during the blasphemous light show.

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  16. Why don't you at least show the sculpture in the right color, which is silver? You seem to have gone out of your way to make it look "hellish" when in reality it does not give that impression at all. What is bad, though, is that a "shrine" with a traditional statue of the BVM is on the lower level adjacent to the restrooms. Very irreverent.But, there is a newer outside courtyard tht has a lovely statue of the BVM. some wins, some loses.

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    1. I honestly didn't go out of my way. This piece and the other piece on the left of the altar looked hellish to me the first time I saw them inside the Cathedral. My wife agreed. We were stunned. The color and lighting were a bit different. But I think the effect is pretty much the same in any light. The reason I put up the particular picture I did is because it was the only picture I could find on the internet that showed the full work (or almost the full work) with the lighting such that you could actually see the figures.

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    2. So you went online to find a picture that matched your emotional response to a modern representation of the BVM but didn't mention that originally and gave readers the impression that the colors are reality. I'm more of a traditionalist in BVE representations myself, but you have been grossly misleading in your article and the photos, and that is what is so irking. You have slandered a great cathedral to push your agenda. Scandalous and dividing actions which do no good and don't promote healing.

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  17. No. As I said, I wasn't looking for a particular color. And again, I don't think the color is the issue. The first place I looked to find a picture was the Holy Name website. But their picture sort of cuts off Mary's head. As for misleading my readers, that's ridiculous.

    Did I "slander" Holy Name? I don't think so. That stuff has been there for years and many people have had the same reaction. I wasn't " out to get" Holy Name or following any particular "agenda." I walked in there for a completely different reason, saw some things that I thought were horrible (without having any prior idea that I would) and later thought it would be something worth writing about.

    That said, I'm not trying to be coy. The art in Holy Name is hellish. Another way of putting that is "Holy Name is hellish." And for any Catholic or Christian or just human being that appreciates the potential value or importance of sacred art, that is not a a good thing.

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