Here's my Conté sketch of Pope Francis ascending into a South Bay evening sky, after a rain squall. The painting is 24x18" oil on linen. Don't know yet where this is going, but I'm having fun with all the pleats and folds of his white cassock. The zucchetto is a nice touch...
"The cassock is what you’ll almost always find the pope wearing, and is an instantly recognizable ankle-length garmentAlthough the cassock has largely fallen out of style within the Catholic Church, it is still a major part of the pope’s wardrobe. He wears the cassock when not celebrating religious services—it’s his everyday uniform, so to speak, called the house dress. The pope’s cassock is white, whereas those lower in the Catholic hierarchy are most often seen in black versions of the garment.The word “cassock,” is Middle French for “long coat,” and evolved from attire worn by soldiers and horsemen, which later become a long garment worn in everyday life in ancient Rome. The ecclesiastical version of the cassock arrived later, around the 17th century.The meaning of the cassock is quite simple—it represents the clergy, just as any uniform represents the organization of its wearer. It creates a sense of unity, and the white color the pope’s cassock marks him out as the singular leader.
This piece of the pope’s clothing is a small, round skullcap. Amongst the clergy, the color of the zucchetto denotes the wearer’s rank, and lower ranking members must always remove their zucchetto in the presence of a higher ranking member of the clergy. It is usually made from silk, and features eight triangular panels joined to form a circle.The highest color, white, is worn by the pope. Next is scarlet, worn by cardinals, and then bishops, who wear amaranth. Meanwhile, priests and deacons wear black.One interesting note about the zucchetto is that, if a visitor offers the pope his or her own zucchetto, the pontiff will often remove his and replace it with the gift, giving his old one to the visitor. Pope Benedict XVI and, more recently, Pope Francis, have done this often. So if you want a papal keepsake, bring a zucchetto with you the next time the pope is speaking!Like the cassock, the zucchetto is a marker of the clergy, helping the church leadership to stand out and take on a uniform and organized appearance."