Artist reveals first sketches of Pope Benedict XVI
Michael Triegel has been commissioned to paint the pontiff's portrait, after being compared by the Pope to Raphael
By Josephine von Perfall. Web only
Published online: 24 March 2010
“Oh, you are my Raphael!” Pope Benedict XVI cried out, while German artist Michael Triegel was drawing the Holy Father during an audience in Rome on 3 March. The Leipzig-based artist will reveal his early sketches for the painting during an exhibition of his work in Regensburg in April, and the finished portrait will be delivered in September.
Triegel was first commissioned to paint an official portrait of Pope Benedict in 2009 by the diocese of Regensburg, nearby where the Pope has a home. The artist says he is fascinated by religious subjects and is very familiar with Christian iconography. A former student of Arno Rink at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts (who also taught Neo Rauch), Triegel is known for his smooth and mannered style. But while his old masterish technique may seem a perfect fit for the Catholic Church, one thing does come as a surprise: the 41-year-old artist is a self-confessed atheist.
As the Pope did not want an extended sitting for the portrait, Triegel had to gather as much material as he could during his brief papal audience, when he was allowed to draw and photograph the pontiff. These preparatory sketches for the portrait will be exhibited from 16 April at the Diocesan Museum of St. Ulrich in Regensburg, along with some 30 other works by the artist, including another clerical portrait of the city’s bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, done in 2009.
Once the painting is completed it will be hung in the foyer of the Institut Papst Benedikt XVI in Regensburg, which collects and studies the writings of the Pope.
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