Artist Matteo Peducci has made a series of sculptures under the title, Burned Pietas. At first glance they appear to be charred wood referencing Michelangelo's famous Pieta sculpture of Mary holding the dead Christ on her lap. The work is actually a marble representation of Mary's head.

Matteo Peducci Burned Pietas

Messiaen’s commentary for III. L’echange (The exchange)

“Descent in a cascade, ascent in a spiral; terrible trading of the human-divine; God made man to make us gods…

God, this is the passage in alternate thirds: that which does not move, that which is very small. Mankind, these are the other fragments, which grow, grow and become enormous, according to a development procedure I call ‘asymmetrical enlargement.’”

The burnt head is sobering and brings forth images of a cooling fire pit. Can I see hope in such an image, or is it an affront to my faith? Is there hope in such a jarring song? These two pieces are confrontational. The music is harsh unlike most welcoming Christmas music and the artwork is a burnt husk of a beautiful sculpture. I cannot help but think of the sober reality of Calvary whenever Advent begins. With these artworks my mind wanders to the hope of refining fire.

I settle on the oddity of Peducci's choice of material. He could have charred wood and called it quits. Instead, he carves the charred remains out of marble as if it is equally suitable for such a grand material. As if the burnt remains matter. What happens to us humans when we come into contact with the divine? Perhaps there is a small part of us that will remain after the fire, after the harsh notes that rain down as trial and tribulation. Will my burnt remains be as substantial as Mary's?

I hope they will.