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World’s biggest ever display of items from Vatican Museums to begin in Moscow

November 25, 2016, 2:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Barbara Jatta, a deputy director of the Vatican Museums, said the museums had never in the past let such a big number of exhibits to be taken for display outside the Pinacoteca.

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© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. The largest-ever exhibition of masterpieces from the Vatican’s Pinacoteca entitled ‘Roma Aeterna. Masterpieces of the Vatican Pinacoteca’ opens for the general public on Friday in the Engineering Building of the Tretyakov Arts Gallery.

Barbara Jatta, a deputy director of the Vatican Museums said at a presentation of the exhibition earlier the museums had never in the past let such a big number of exhibits to be taken for display outside the Pinacoteca, the collection of which comprises about 470 paintings.

One-tenth of that number of canvasses has been taken to Moscow now. Most are the items from the main display, not from the depositary.

The provisional removal of these wonderful works posed certain problems for the museum, as it had to fill the vacant spaces with other works, since the Pinacoteca attracts numerous visitors from around the world, Barbara Jatta said.

All in all, put up for display are 42 works dating to the period of the 12th century through the 18th century. It begins with ‘Christ Blessing’, an icon of the Roman school, which is analogous to the early Russian icons of Christ Pantocrator and alludes to the epoch of unity of the Holy Christian Church before its split into the western Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

This sublime image shows Jesus Christ and the Ruler of the Heavenly Kingdom and bears a logical link to Donato Creti’s ‘Astronomical Observations’ (1711) featuring the planets that were known at the time. It was sent to Pope Clement XI sometime in the past in a hope that he would allocate funds for construction of an observatory.

Other paintings exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery form a kind of a dialogue with one another, which is obvious even to non-professionals. Take, for instance, the works of the landmark artists of Venetian Renaissance - ‘La pieta’ by Carlo Crivelli and ‘Mourning of Christ with Joseph, Nicodemus and Mary Magdalene’ by Giovanni Bellini.

Placed in the same hall is ‘St Francis’ by Margarito di Magnano painted soon after canonization of the saint in 1228 and vivid, light-colored angels by Merlozzo da Forli, who is believed to be the founder of the Roman school. These frescos come from the Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome.

The other hall that, in the concept of architect Sergei Chaban, refers the visitors to St Peter’s Square in Vatican City shows Raphael’s ‘Faith’ and ‘Charity’, among other paintings. Also in this hall, a visitor will see an explicit dialogue between the impressive canvasses placed opposite each other Caravaggio’s ‘The Entombment’ and Nicolas Poussin’s ‘Martyrdom of St Erasmus’.

Tretyakov Gallery director Zelfira Tregulova said earlier the museum had tightened security measures for the whole duration of the exhibition, or through to February 19, 2017.

"There will be more staff in the halls and also a duty officer from our security service will always be on the spot," she said. "In addition, we’ll step up the checking formalities at the entrance and reinforce the police posts there."

One more important regulatory measure that aims to avoid stampede at the entrance - something that happened at a few exhibitions recently - is the introduction of admission times. Only a hundred visitors will be able to get inside in one admission.

Partly because of these security steps, all the entrance tickets for the exhibition have been bought up through to the end of December. The next batch of tickets will go on sale on December 15.

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