Pope hosts artists in Sistine Chapel, some who attracted controversy

As Pope Francis met with dozens of international artists at the Sistine Chapel on Friday, he sought both to reaffirm the Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to artistic endeavours and to enlist the artists to act as catalysts for change in areas like social justice.

Yet as the group sat amid Renaissance frescoes by the likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Perugino — undisputedly one of the high points of papal art patronage — not all of those present had a traditional religious bent.

Among them was the American artist Andres Serrano, whose photograph “Piss Christ,” an image of a plastic crucifix submerged in a tank full of urine, was considered blasphemous when it debuted in 1987.

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