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Vatican’s 4th Lenten vignette nods to the 1st Commandment

Maupal Vignette 4 cropped

© Maupal via Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

J-P Mauro - published on 03/05/24

Italian street artist Maupal's illustrations for Pope Francis' 2024 Lenten message are being released weekly throughout the season.

In celebration of the Lenten season, the Vatican has been releasing original artworks on Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2024, with the theme: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom.” The artwork, which is in the style of graffiti art, comes from the mind of famed Italian street artist Maupal – Mauro Pallotta – who will release new artworks every Monday of Lent. 

The releases have been organized through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Muriel Fleury, head of communications for the dicastery, noted that the graffiti art style of Maupal was meant to “break away from a classical presentation” and give Christians a new perspective, broadening their horizons.

This vignette released on the fourth Monday of Lent features Pope Francis, this time joined by an old man and two children while all four of them are trying to pull down a golden statue of various money symbols from atop a pedestal titled “Divinities.” The work warns the faithful not to make an idle of money, or the economy in general. In this, it points to the First Commandment: 

“You shall not have other gods beside me.” – Exodus 20:3

Maupal takes a lot of care to detail his figures, this time we see it most especially in Pope Francis’ attire, which required a lot of lines to indicate folds in his outfit during this action shot. All of the subjects seem to be exerting a lot of effort to pull the statue down, but it appears to be just about to fall off the pedestal in the painting. 

The Holy Father often takes up Jesus’ command against love of money, with an evocative warning about the devil’s tactics:

“The devil enters through the pockets.” He says:

We start with love for money, the hunger to possess; then vanity comes: “Ah, I am rich and I am proud of it”; and in the end, pride and arrogance. This is the way the devil acts in us. But the gate of entry is always the pockets.

Previous images

Previous Maupal paintings released during Lent 2024 include: a painting of Pope Francis pushing a wheelbarrow bearing a sack labeled “faith” through the desert, flanked on all sides with nails pointy-end-up; Pope Francis staging a jailbreak to free prisoners from the chains of fear and hate; and Pope Francis presenting a “Green Card” to two migrant children playing soccer on a beach. 

There is more Maupal art to come from the Vatican, to be released every Monday of Lent 2024.

ArtLentPope FrancisVatican
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