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Rome Reports

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Vatican and China focus on “beauty that unites” in simultaneous and unprecedented art show

China and the Vatican are setting aside their differences and focusing on beauty with the first art show held simultaneously at the Vatican Museums and in China, “The Beauty that Unites us.”

It is a sign of openness and an invitation to friendship that was initiated by the Vatican. The director of the Vatican Museums says these efforts deliberately choose to share on an exchange of cultures and communication. 

BARBARA JATTA
Director, Vatican Museums
“We are talking about cultural diplomacy, so it's exactly what the museum and the pope are doing. These two exhibits are really the first steps of this cultural diplomacy and it's very, very important to have the two exhibits. It's coming at the same time, so in mid-March 2018, 40 art objects from China will come into the Vatican Museums and 40 of our important Chinese, and not only Chinese, artifacts will go in the Città Proibita (Forbidden City).”

Chinese artist, Yan Zhang, is one artist participating and he donated 20 of his pieces to the Vatican to specifically highlight the cultural idea of “Nature and Religion.”

YAN ZHANG
Artist
"They are works that have the theme of togetherness and nature and love for nature, after I came to the Vatican to directly see the works of great Italian artists, especially where the works were created and in particular, Michelangelo. I think these artists' works are full of love. That's why they inspired me to put more love to my works. They are pieces, I can say, that were created with heart and that come from the heart."

He also presented two pieces in particular to Pope Francis, “Cradling Arm” and “Iron Staff Lama.” Zhang says his desire with these two works was to display the harmonic connection between life of man and nature. 

YAN ZHANG
Artist
“The two works I donated to Pope Francis are two works that have characterized the main significance of my art exhibition. First was with the title 'Iron Staff Lama,' after which all the subsequent works are related to this first work. It proves this important relationship between man, nature and Buddhism that have been represented in my painting, 'Iron Staff Lama.' The second work, called 'Cradling Arm,' was created 20 years later, following 'Iron Staff Lama.' It represents maternity with a mother and the child attached to her arm.”

After time and energy have been invested by China and the Vatican in this exhibition, both parties explained their desire to continue dialogue and appreciate the other for culture, especially displayed through beauty and art, which can be appreciated by everyone.