Let me introduce you to Roberto Ferri.

His art has a frisson of body horror that I appreciate, while wanting to run from.


What I love about Ferri is his unabashed homage to my favorite painter of all: Caravaggio. But he does deliciously weird stuff and Caravaggio could not do that, during his time. This is, by the way, why I loathe christianity: it is the source of a tremendous amount of really shitty art.

I’m willing to blame my parents for their fair share of that – they dragged me to countless medieval art museums, and medieval art is mostly exclusively religious (except for the stuff that is kink disguised as religion). By the way, not that I am worried they may read this: my parents love of really execrable medieval art has a lot to do with why I am an atheist. I was fairly young when I concluded that, if god was trying to inspire art, it’d be a whole lot better than medieval christians managed. I was at a young age that I hypothesized that the renaissance was contemporary with the advent of Jesus – I mean, it makes sense, right? But it turns out that, no, god wanted us to suffer through 1000+ years of crap.

The majestic reliquary of St Foy de Conques

My parents’ summer place (and therefore mine, while I was a child) was in southern France, Aveyron, near Marcillac, in a tiny town called Panat. I enjoyed crawling around 14th century ruins, and finding napoleonic coins and (once!) a Roman sesterce, but one of the things I really loathed was whenever there was a visitor that hadn’t been to Conques, we hauled them there so they could enjoy the medieval art. Look at that remarkable, miraculous, piece of garbage, which is thin gold hammered over wood, with cabochons stuck on at random as fast as they could be looted from the faithful who were engaged in the pilgrimage route from Compostelle to ${wherever} who the fuck cares? This was also in the core of old catholic country, which had been burned over ruthlessly during pointless religious wars [If you haven’t seen, The Last Valley, it captures it well] Albi, the target of the Albigensian crusades [wik] is a short ride. What do I remember of Albi? The small pastry store that also had really delicious Italian ices. I guess that the point I am trying to get across is that christian art is a) garbage and b) deeply, profoundly, sick. If you want to get people over christianity, expose them to the kind of art that christians insist upon when they have power. And, for god’s sake – keep them from power. For art’s sake, if nothing else. It’s important to understand, though, that christians do fetishize things like ripping the breasts off young women with sharpened tongs, placing people on grills and roasting them, etc. Naturally, the christians blamed the Romans for this, but I’m skeptical – the Romans didn’t waste much time on that sort of crowd-pleaser.

Perhaps someday I should do a posting about my memories and analysis of the great facade at Conques cathedral: an exquisite combination of boredom, sadism, and bad art. It simply makes me long for the renaissance.

All of which brings me back to Caravaggio and Ferri and other artists, who were actually trying to represent things in a beautiful (or at least interesting) way, not completely beholden to the ruthless monetization of the church. Remember: if they liked your stuff, you got to live and be rich – and, if they didn’t… I know I am hammering on this point, but it’s a sign of the weakness of your faith if your art sucks and you kill people who point out that your composition and perspective would offend a child’s “refrigerator art” phase. I don’t accept that “it was the 1120s and art hadn’t been invented, yet” because humans were quite capable of that invention – they simply didn’t do it because they were afraid of the church. [ste foy]

The church facade is nothing more or less than a bad art rendition of the agonies of Hell, and how they are vastly more interesting than the apparent trance-boredom of heaven. I think I was about 9 when I realized that the whole purpose of all this golden shit, and sadistic art, was “you’re either against us or with us and if you’re with us you get to look at gold shit but otherwise you get the chop.” Saints get to sit in uncomfortable chairs, looking bored, for eternity. I stand by that position.

Midjourney AI and mjr: "an unpublished artwork by Roberto Ferri, 'the death of a vampire."

Midjourney AI and mjr: “an unpublished artwork by Roberto Ferri, ‘the death of a vampire.”

Thank god, AI art has driven a stake through the heart of bad art. I’m not saying AI art is all masterpieces, but the day where unacceptably bad christian art is accepted – those days are done. I’d dance on their grave except I don’t care enough to.

Actual art by Roberto Ferri

And the AI:

Midjourney AI and mjr: “an unpublished work by Roberto Ferri entitled salome’s dance”

Now I am going to ask Midjourney if it can do a revision of the facade of Conques toward a more techno theme maybe featuring space aliens building the pyramids. Why not? The catholics believe way sillier stuff than that.



Roberto Ferri: “LINCANTO”

Ferri’s work is amazing. I hope I outlive him and he spends many many years making beautiful art.

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Midjourney AI and mjr: “a romanesque facade 13th century, featuring space aliens with powered armor and beam weapons.”

Fuck yeah.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    I don’t see anything that would pass as “beam weapons.” Did I miss something, or did Midjourney let you down?

  2. outis says

    I am shamed: I never heard of R.Ferri before. Raaah and other assorted beast noises.
    As for medieval bad art, I only partly agree.
    Some of it is indeed noisome stuff, but there’s also lots of good/amusing stuff mixed in. Either by genuinely good artists, or by those that were not under full control and could do whatever they wanted. Some cathedrals have literally thousands of sculptures, and except for the most visible ones there was no way to check them all. So you get caricatures and sendups of local folks, merry scenes quite obscene and just fully bonkers stuff, a bit like the marginal art in illuminated manuscripts. I suspect wine and other substances served as engines of inpiration…
    On the other hand, you are perfectly right to point out the general sickness of spirit that hangs above it all. The instigators of such stuff were literally perverts, and bloody hell it shows.
    A general rule: the more someone throws piousness in your face, the more likely it is they are a bunch of demented pervs, already half out of the closet. Medieval history anywhere in Europe will serve as proof.

  3. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#2:
    I don’t see anything that would pass as “beam weapons.” Did I miss something, or did Midjourney let you down?

    They shoot energy beams from their eyes, I guess.

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