Philadelphia welcomes Pope Francis with a knotty art installation

Art East
(Courtesy @faitphillyours Twitter)

(Faith Philly / Twitter)

A local Philadelphia artist has been commissioned to re-interpret a Baroque painting of the Virgin Mary, commonly known as “Mary The Untier Of Knots.” The piece that was originally painted by Georg Melchior Schmidtner in the 1700s is apparently among Pope Francis’ favorite works of art.

Dome installation with knots

Dome installation with knots. (Meg Saligman / Facebook)

The Pope is heading into Philly on September 26 before the Festival of Families celebration. His tour will start at Eakins Oval, and then head  down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, around City Hall and then travel back up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before ending at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“People have expressed a desire for inclusivity of all so that none are marginalized,” artist Meg Saligman told NPR in an interview. “And it’s also issues of homelessness and hunger, struggle, issues of race and immigration.” Saligman’s process involved asking people to write about a personal struggle on a white plastic ribbon when she visited churches, congregations, homeless shelters, public spaces, even using the internet.

dome 1

(Meg Saligman / Facebook)

The work will sit outside the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in downtown Philadelphia, where Pope Francis will deliver mass later this month. “The idea is to have every inch of the dome covered with these messages to get people to share their experiences,” said Saligman.

The Bishop of Rome appears to be a fan of alternative artistic representations of religious works. Earlier this year he took a hermeneutic approach to a communist crucifix, taking the gift from Bolivia with him back home.

knots 3

(Meg Saligman / Facebook)

Saligman's interpretation of the Virgin Mary aomg the knot installation

Saligman’s interpretation of the Virgin Mary aomg the knot installation. (Meg Saligman / Facebook)

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