Who is afraid of art?
In Italy, from 1200 onwards, religion became art.
A real fortune.
Imagining the priceless Italian artistic heritage without the representation and commissioning of the Church means remaining with very little in hand, at least until the Renaissance.
This was not the case in other countries. A little around the world, in alternating phases, religions and the power of the moment, art just could not bear it.
In the beginning it was "the Word", or the Bible that writes quite clearly: “I am the Lord your God. You will not be an idol nor any image of what is in heaven above, nor of what is on earth below, nor of what is in the waters under the earth. "
Paradox: there is no such prohibition in the Koran. It only provides an exhortation "... protect me and my children from idol worship" which is different from not “Make yourself an image”.
On the other hand, a strict prohibition is however expressed in subsequent books, the "ahadith", which are the speeches of Muhammad to the disciples.
Logically, the "ahadith" are human work and not the Koran, but for Islamic religious they are law, and a very precise law.
It does not only target the artistic object, the artifact or the image, which does not have to portray practically any subject, but it targets exactly the artist's work.
The "mortal sin" for the artist would be his "pride" in carrying out a creative act that brings something new to the world, hence the "creation" as an undue imitation of God, the only creator admitted.
From this axiom here is the absence of any Islamic image, if not decorative doodles. In recent times, this idea has caused the destruction of statues and any artistic image, just as in the Byzantine era images and illuminated manuscripts were destroyed.
While the Renaissance was flourishing in Italy, Mr. Jehan Cauvin (Calvin for Italians) on the one hand and Martin Luther on the other rejected the dictates of the Holy Roman Church and gave birth to Calvinists and Protestants who, needless to do so on purpose, took it up. with pictures.
Throughout Europe (including Great Britain) they enjoyed burning sacred pictures and images and stripping churches, to keep them free from "sins"…. And without even the squiggles: bare walls and that's enough.
Iconoclastic fury is not the exclusive privilege of religions. The "damnatio memoriae" of Roman origin has been entrusted to politicians.
Napoleon Bonaparte had as many as 5,000 "St. Mark's Lions" destroyed as he could not raid them and take them to the Louvre.
The "October Revolutionaries" dedicated themselves to the destruction of eagles, churches and cathedrals, including icons, considered symbols of the rich and corrupt Orthodox church.
In 1919 in China only works and artifacts preserved in museums were saved, while in Russia, in 1989, everything created in the name and in the period of Stalin and Lenin was scientifically razed to the ground.
The Nazis took care of canceling the "Degenerate Art", except to steal and hoard the largest number of works of art possible: we know "pecunia non olet".
The havoc of the Taliban and in Iraq belongs to this very millennium of ours.
In short, religion and politics have an open account with art.
This confirms both the power of art and the responsibility of those who make it.
If it is true, as Gustav Klimt said, that every era has its own art, it is also true that art has the power to influence and direct an era.
Sincere art does not tell what the world is, but what the world will become.
It turns into a practical and infallible compass: those who oppose art, consider it harmful, or even just useless, belong to the ranks of fundamentalists or dictators.
Art as a barometer of good politics and democracy.
It is up to us to watch.
Even against subtle attempts, disguised as "priorities" like those who told us that "with culture you don't eat" or closes schools and museums because ... "restaurants first".
Andrea Giuseppe Fadini