Thursday, September 25, 2008

Teleological Art

I came across this book in a used bookstore last week.  I can't find any further information about the paintings that it mentions, but it's pretty amazing.  Does anyone out there know more about this?

Excerpted from “Teleological Art,” by Ferraro Strauss.  Published by Elenchus House, 1989.

Pg. 112

“While an executive order demanding that all religious idols be stricken from the home and replaced with images of the leader himself may seem outlandish to us today, in Stalinist Russia this was official policy.  Any who dared to disobey would be branded a traitor and an undesirable, and face exile or death. 

But some Russian Christians, perhaps more afraid of an eternity in hell then a life of false idols, took extraordinary steps to circumvent and undermine this law.

Recently, researchers have uncovered proof that a secret cabal existed, one devoted to producing otherwise state approved works of art that secretly included coded Christian messages and hidden Christian symbols.   These works often relied on elaborate puns or images so steeped in symbolism that an almost scholarly understanding of Christianity would be needed to pick them out. 

One of the artists who risked his life to produce these works was Guiseppe Nekenbruli, an Italian painter who emigrated to Stalinist Russia with the express purpose of producing Stalinist Christian works.  It is unclear how many works Nekenbruli produced.  His reliance on pseudonyms, as well as the imperative to hide these Christian images as well as possible, made cataloguing his work nearly impossible.  It is known that in 1979 he donated one piece, titled [untranslatable] to the Vatican Museum.  This work is notable for the fact that Nekenbruli hid images of Jesus Christ in Stalin’s very own mustache.  In fact, when viewed under a microscope, it is revealed that each hair in the mustache hides an image of Christ, over 200 hundred in all.  The fact that Nekenbruli was able to pull of such an audacious stunt in nothing less then amazing.”


Team 8 Press said...

Haha, what the hell?? A microscope? I believed it until the microscope. And then I googled it...

Tom said...

I'll have to show you the book next time I see you.