Just minutes after his election as Supreme Pontiff, the entire world wanted the image ofJorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. The historic moment also inspired Argentine painter Mercedes Fariña with the idea to paints the new Pope.
"I thought that it was a good opportunity to show this moment, which is so important, through an Argentine painter, someone from his same nationality. Another thing that drew me to the Holy Father is that I'm from the Flores neighborhood, which is where he was born and grew up. In the first painting, I placed him next to his church, where he found his religious vocation.”
The painter found a way to get a letter and a picture of her painting to the Pope. The Vatican responded to the painter with an Apostolic Blessing. But the best surprise was yet to come.
"I received a second letter handwritten by him. It was an immense joy for me, and he thanked me for the allegoric portrait, and he congratulated me for my artistic skills.”
Mercedes has so far done four portraits of Pope Francis and she hopes to see him so she can hand them to him in person.
"The Nunciature in Buenos Aires also contacted me and told me they would ask for a private audience with the Pope, to hand him the first painting. So now were are waiting on confirmation from Rome, and hopefully I'll be lucky. My greatest wish to to be able to personally hand my allegoric painting to the Holy Father.”
This painter continues working on a series of portraits on the Pope. Next year, she will exhibit in Rome seven of the portraits of her fellow Argentine, Pope Francis.