A Global History of Religious Prudes

The obsession of religion with sex and its derivatives, chiefly, nudity is not a preserve of the Muslim or Arab parts of the world. This is an obsession the Christian West also shares. In the example of the Catholic Church we see an obsession that goes way back in the church’s history. Just like the Qatari Greek nude statue story the Catholic Church’s example of the obsession with sex and nudity plays itself out in the arts.

Greek Statue

Was this the offending statue, hence detail of only the upper section?

The Qatari censorship story draws a parallel with no less than the world famous Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Rome. The story from the art history annals goes that in his now world renowned Last Judgement fresco, on the altar wall of the chapel, Michelangelo depicted nude men with exposed genitalia to the horror of the papal powers of the time. To add insult to the injury of the powers, Michelangelo refused to cover up the naughty bits, setting precedence for the Greek minister of culture, Costas Tzavaras, in the Qatari censorship story.

Detail from Michelangelo's censored Last Judgement

Detail from Michelangelo’s censored Last Judgement

Religions obsession with sex in the West continues today, witness the turmoil of the Catholic Church and the Church of England’s distraction with gay Bishops. Hence before we laugh and point at the Qataris we must remember that we are just as guilty in the practice of equating sex with morality. The Qatari/Greek statue story is all just a little bit of history repeating.

By Depo Olukotun

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This is the blog of Galleria Clic contemporary art online gallery edited by Depo Olukotun.
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