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Rembrandt displayed in the Vatican for the first time

2016-12-04

Rembrandt has been brought to the Vatican for the first time in history in an event organized by the Congregation for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Swedish Embassy. 

Almost one month after Pope Francis visited Sweden to mark the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the strong ties that unite the Christian faiths are displayed through 53 pieces of art displayed at the Vatican Museums. 

ARNOLD NESSELRATH
Curator, Vatican Museums
"Rembrandt is an artist who is rooted in the Protestant, as well as in the Catholic environment, so he's an ideal artist. And of course, he's an artist of that caliber who can actually transmit these ideas.”

This is because the Dutch artist grew up with a Catholic mother and Protestant father, experiencing the combination of both worlds, which led to the Bible being his biggest source of inspiration for his artwork.

ARNOLD NESSELRATH
Curator, Vatican Museums
"It is peculiar that Rembrandt's graphic work of the poor is like this and that, and they are present all over Europe.
There are his most famous prints like the one of the '100 Florins,' 'Christ healing the sick' and the famous 'Three crosses.' These are images have a great impact.”

Rembrandt's printed works also express compassion and mercy for the poor. This is the same theme of mercy that deeply touches the heart of Pope Francis and why his desire for unity between Protestants and Catholics is so strong, leading to the actions he has been taking to increase their relationship. As a result, members from Swedish Royal Families also came to the Vatican to witness this event.

ARNOLD NESSELRATH
Curator, Vatican Museums
"Sweden is a particularly Protestant country. Holland is a particularly Protestant country. So if you want to set an ecumenical sign through creating events as we've seen on the 31 of October, and this is what we wanted to contribute to with this exhibition.”

This sign is not only evident in how the pope interacts with people of other Christian faiths, but it is also displayed in the Vatican museums for all passers-by to witness this outstanding call to openness and unity.


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