By their fruits you shall know them…
Portrait of the Pope by female British artist to hang alongside masterpieces in Vatican!
The painting, by Stoke-on-Trent born Sara Pope, will hang alongside work by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Raphael that help attract more than five million visitors a year.
Pope, 42, said: “The walls of the Vatican are covered floor to ceiling in Raphael masterpieces the public doesn’t get to see, which is awe-inducing.
“To be included in one of the greatest collections in the world makes me extremely proud.”
Her painting will also be reproduced as a print to be sold in aid of papal charities.
Art expert Colin Winston-Fletcher, of London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery, said: “It’s a wonderful honor for British art to have one of our artists’ work on display at the Vatican, especially when it’s a contemporary piece.
Religion itself isn’t considered to be terribly well connected to the world of modern art so it’s exceptional that a new, young, female artist has been accepted by the establishment, especially when the work for which she is best known is quite sexual and erotic.
You don’t usually associate that with the Catholic church
“It would be like seeing a Damien Hirst on the walls of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.”
The oil and acrylic portrait is finished with silver and gold leaf.
Pope, who has exhibited at the Alkin Gallery, said: “It took six weeks to finish as each layer of oil had to be left for several days to dry before another layer was added, with acrylic on top in fluorescent pink and peach to flesh him out over the cheeks and hands.
“The gold leaf drips off his costume to signify his rejection of material privilege.
It’s exceptional that a new, young, female artist has been accepted by the establishment – Colin Winston-Fletcher
“I greatly admire him for his refusal to live opulently, his humility.
“He seems like a maverick, a reformer who will become an icon.”
Pope, who trained as a shoe designer working with names such as Paul Smith and Lacoste, began to paint seven years ago after becoming frustrated with commercial work.
She painted the portrait of her namesake while preparing to exhibit in Italy last year.
Pope added: “I’m not Catholic, nor even religious, but the experience was probably the most emotional and spiritual of my life.”
Parce nobis Domine!!!