St Peter and the Vatican: the legacy of the popes, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale

What’s On: US museums and galleries

On loan from such Vatican institutions as the papal sacristy, the treasury of St Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museums, this exhibition (until 23 November), sponsored by Fort Lauderdale’s Holy Cross Hospital, Sun Trust Bank and Delta Air Lines, presents a range of objects—paintings, drawings, sculpture, objets de vertu, books, manuscripts, vestments, rings, and liturgical instruments. Spread over 12 galleries, the viewer can see such works as a fourth-century AD epitaph of a child; a fifth-century mosaic of St Peter from St Paul’s Outside the Walls; the fifth-century painting on linen of the face of Jesus, one of the most venerated of medieval images, the Mandylion of Edessa (left); a Bernini terracotta, “Charity with four putti”; two sketches by Michelangelo, one of which is a study for the Sistine Chapel ceiling; a selection of rings, pectoral crosses, croziers and tiaras that once belonged to Popes Pius IX (1846-78), Leo XIII (1878-1903), Pius X (1903-14), John XXIII (1958-63) and Paul VI (1963-78), the latter two of whom are also portrayed in bronze busts by Giacomo Manzù. The exhibition makes an attempt at explaining the meaning of the Holy Year ceremonies and what happens at a papal conclave, when cardinals meet to elect the next pope. The exhibition travels to to the Cincinnati Museum Center (20 December-18 April) and San Diego Museum of Art (15 May-5 September).

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 139 September 2003