Come and Holy See our show: Vatican to exhibit artwork at Venice Biennale next year

Alice Jones' Arts Diary
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First Twitter, now modern art: the Papal innovations just keep coming. The Vatican will have its own pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale.

It will join eight other first-timers at the global exhibition in June, including the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of Kosovo, according to The Art Newspaper.

The Holy See is yet to choose the artists which will represent it but La Stampa has reported that it will be a group of 10 men and women from around the world, some established, some emerging, and that “their subject matter will be the first 11 chapters of the Book of Genesis”.

The Vatican and the Venice Biennale have a long and tense history. In 1954, the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, angered by an artwork which depicted Christ as a skeleton, pronounced the show an “artistic debacle” which demonstrated “the breakdown of art in modern times”. The idea for a Holy See pavilion was first raised in 2009.

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