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Marko Rupnik, the artist who realized the “Sistine Chapel” of John Paul II


The artist Marko Rupnik was very young when he entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 in Slovenia. His sketches on the walls of corridors caught the attention of an important patron who was visiting his seminary. Thanks to this, he was sent to study Art in Rome by his superiors. 

To triumph in the world of art is a privilege that few reach. Rupnik has accomplished that and more. His first great work, a mosaic of 600 square meters for the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in Vatican City, was commissioned by Pope John Paul II. Rupnik proposed to realize the work with a very distinct style. 

"I said to the Pope: we are seeking to give an ecclesial imprint to this research so that something very, very ecclesial and spiritual might be born; I said, however, this would be a kind of artistic revolution. And then he tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Realize this revolution.” 

His works are always of a religious character. He states that his inspiration is the Eucharist and that this is his way of being in the service of God.

He has exposed his works in more than 150 venues all over the world. His mosaics are found in the most emblematic locations: in Lourdes, in Fatima, in the Basilica of John Paul II in Krakow, in the National Sanctuary of John Paul II in Washington and in the Cathedral of La Almudena in Madrid. 

"I meditate on the Sacred Scripture, I read it continuously, this is my food, I have not watched television for 25 years. And so this deposit of the tradition of the Church in which I move is the source of the images which then I propose.” 

"The design is first copied on nylon, on that nylon on which we work in the atelier because we try to realize the figures in the atelier. Then we put a net of fiberglass which is indestructible on on this we begin to compose the figures in mosaic. The figures are 15/20 percent of the mosaic, the rest is made up of the backgrounds which we realize directly at that moment.”

Despite his success for the past 20 years, he never forgets the person who helped him to embark on this path.

"I owe much to John Paul II, and not only for that which pertains to my art, but also for my ability to feel the Church.”

Since 1995, Rupnik has been the director of the Centro Aletti, the studio where his works of art are born. There he works with persons from different parts of the world who undergo an exhaustive selection process: from 50 who are pre-selected, Marko Rupnik only chooses one, who must pass a two month trial period before being invited to join the team. The motto is clear: to be the best one has to work with the best. 

- PR