Saturday, May 03, 2008

ABC 20/20: Secrets of the Sistime; and a preview of documentary "Bloodline"

On Friday, May 2, ABC 20/20 presented a one hour documentary narrated by Martin Bashir, “Secrets of the Sistine: Michaelangelo’s Mystery,” about the ceiling frescos in the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni.

The show had been anticipated by a Nightline preview Thursday. There was some summary of how Michelangelo got the job, and at first resented it as grunt work. The show depicts how physically demanding the painting job was for the artist who otherwise was best known for sculpture, sometimes homoerotic.

The documentary examines whether the frescoes incorporated hidden insults aimed at Pope Julius II. But more important was Michaelangelo’s own theology, which accepted the historical origin of Christianity in Judaism and its continuity with Judaism, an idea that the Vatican had been trying to bury in the 16th Century. Michaelangelo felt that the concept naturally derived from the Old Testament stories that he depicted on the ceiling. He felt that Jews could be saved just as Christians, as depicted in his “Circle of the Righteous.” A portion of the frescoes were plainly erotic, and were covered up by the Vatican, but they may be viewed today. The theological concept is that everyone is eventually naked before God at final judgment.

The ABC story is "Forbidden Messages in Famous Frescoes?: What Secrets Might Be Hidden in the Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling?," by Ralpj Avellino, Jenna Millman, DAaneil Huyssein and Ali Sargent, link here.

Nightline also presented, on Friday, a brief report by Elizabeth Vargas about a new documentary film by Bruce Burgess, “Bloodline,” about the possibility that tomb has been found in southern France near “Rennes le Chateau” that could house the body of Mary Magdalene, and could support the “Da Vinci Code" thesis of Dan Brown, that Jesus was married, that the Holy Grail symbolizes his wife Mary Magdalene carrying his child, and that the Church and Knights Templar have covered this up for centuries, even paying off a remote priest who discovered the tomb or its artifacts.

The IMDB reference for the documentary is here, and the film is to be distributed by Cinema Libre.

Da Vinco and Michealangelo seem from a distance to have been two similar figures, both strongly individualistic, in Italian Rennaissance history.

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