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Contemporary Spanish artist honored by the Vatican for finding beauty and God in the ordinary



Pontifical Academies Award 2012 Winner 
"The beauty of Christian life isn't about an old lay praying the rosary like this. No! It's the life of a normal person, but it's a life with meaning and flavor.” 

It didn't take long before the Vatican and the Pope himself took notice of his projects. His goal is to improve the way people perceive and live Christianity. In fact the Spanish artist was awarded the 2012 Pontifical Academies Award, for his lifelong line of work. For example, in a simple image of a child in the water, he sees humanity, God and faith. 

Pontifical Academies Award 2012 Winner 
"When a boy is being bathed and I see hands caring for him in the water, it reminds me of the Sacrament of Baptism. Or at home, I break bread and divide it among my sons, which reminds me of the Eucharist.” 

The Pontifical Academies gives the award to an artist every eight years. The idea started about 20 years ago under John Paul II. 

Even though art has always been part of Ribes' life, he says, it intensified even more when Benedict XVI visited the Basilica of the Sacred Family in Barcelona. 

Pontifical Academies Award 2012 Winner 
"He said something striking. He said, the fundamental need of humans is beauty. He didn't say it's bread or justice, or so many other things that come to mind. No, He said, it's beauty, and you know what, it's true.” 

He explains that if people overlook God, they eventually ignore beauty. With no beauty, society becomes lifeless, dry, cynical and sarcastic, with little to look forward to. 

Pontifical Academies Award 2012 Winner 
"I lived many years just thinking about myself. It was all about what I wanted and how I wanted it. I was younger back then, but I knew that my life didn't have any flavor.” 

In his faith, he says he found that flavor and beauty in life. Now he tries to transmit that mysterious beauty to others through his art.