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This Year's Met Costume Exhibit and Gala Required Negotiation With the Vatican ...


Even for people accustomed to dealing with exquisitely fragile artifacts, the upcoming Costume Institute seems like a delicate operation.


Eventually he secured a loan of about 40 pieces of ecclesiastical garments and objects from the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, including a tiara with 18,000 diamonds worn by a 17 th -century pope.


He consulted locally with prominent Catholics including Jesuit writer and priest James Martin and New York cardinal Timothy Dolan.


The New York Times reported that items from the Vatican will be displayed separately from the rest of the show, presumably to defang criticisms about mixing the sacred and the profane.


A spokesman for the Pontifical Council for Culture told me that the cardinal was not involved in planning or organizing the show, but he contributed an essay to the catalog and appeared next to Donatella Versace at a press conference for the exhibit in Rome earlier this year.


They include a towering ovoid tiara given from Queen Isabella of Spain to Pope Pius IX, a loose 19 th -century vestment elaborately emblazoned with an image of Jesus carrying the cross on his back, and a pair of red slippers worn by John Paul II.


The show’s primary interest, meanwhile, is in work by (primarily) Catholic-raised designers who acknowledge the church’s aesthetic influence, like the mesh Versace evening gown from the late ’90s that sports a huge gold cross .




READ MORE (Slate Magazine)


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