Pope Paul has inaugurated a modern art exhibition in the Vatican to commemorate his 80th birthday last month (26 September).
Pope Paul has inaugurated a modern art exhibition in the Vatican to commemorate his 80th birthday last month (26 September). The 80 art works on show were either done especially for the occasion or donated by their owners.
SYNOPSIS: The exhibition will remain open until the first week in January, and then will probably be moved to the Modern Religious Art Gallery in the Vatican museum. The display includes works by Van Gough, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Matisse, Rouault, Giorgio de Chirico, Renato Guttuso, and Annigoni. The two dominant themes of the exhibition were the life of Saint Paul, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Several of the artists themselves attended the opening.
Apart from paintings in oil, the works included sculptures, mosaics, woodcarvings and tapestries. Contemporary artists from ten countries-among them the Soviet Union and South Africa-presented works for the exhibition.
Religious art has always held a keen interest for Pope Paul himself. Thirteen years ago he publicly appealed for artists to make the subject more readily available to the people. A group of them responded by preparing more than 700 works over the next nine years, and presenting them to Vatican collections. Speaking at the inauguration of the current exhibition, the Pope told the donating artists and owners that they were always welcome at the Vatican, where they would not be strangers. Not only would they be welcome, he said, they would also be understood -- something which was not always easy for artists.