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Play dough popes

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  April 2, 2013 10:50 AM

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Pope Francis made news last week when he became the first pontiff ever to wash a woman's feet, as part of the Catholic Church's ritual Holy Thursday celebration. Perhaps this gesture will qualify him for (or maybe spare him) German artist Miriam Jonas's play dough treatment. Jonas has created a series she calls "Polka Popes"- miniature sculptures of fictitious pontiffs, crafted out of the colorful kid's modeling clay and displayed inside empty fish tin cans. Jonas's work reads, first, as a playful critique of the pomp that surrounds the papacy. It is undeniably lowering to be recreated in play dough, but at the same time, there is a touch of affectionate reverence in the figures Jonas has made.




H/T Design Taxi

Images courtesy of Miriam Jonas.

Update 4/5: Jonas popes are made from a number of different types of modeling clay, not specifically the Play-Doh brand. The original version of this post also said that her sculptures were based on historical popes. In fact, the popes Jonas depicts are entirely fictitious.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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