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Pope Francis impressed by paintings at Vatican-hosted exhibition of Russian fine art

Pope Francis was impressed by the exhibits of a major exhibition of Russian fine art entitled "Pilgrimage of Russian Art: From Dionysius to Malevich" that opened a week ago

VATICAN, November 27. /TASS/. Pope Francis was impressed by the exhibits of a major exhibition of Russian fine art entitled "Pilgrimage of Russian Art: From Dionysius to Malevich" that opened at the Vatican a week ago, Zelfira Tregulova, director of the famed State Tretyakov Gallery, told TASS on Tuesday.

Tregulova showed the pontiff the exhibits on Tuesday. "Pope Francis was greatly impressed by many pieces of art - from the painting "Christ in Gethsemane" by Vasily Perov to "Christ in the Desert" by Ivan Kramskoi, from Perov’s portrait of Dostoyevsky to works by Nikolai Ge," Tregulova said. "Although the exhibition was not arranged in an easy way, I think he perceived all analogies and correlations," she added.

According to the Tretyakov Gallery director, the main idea of the exhibition did not escape his notice. The point of the exhibition is that "the Russian road and Russian culture are deeply spiritual... It is all about compassion and an appeal to improve the human being," she said.

Tregulova said she had spoken English, while the pope answered in Italian. "He said: ‘Excellent. I have never seen the paintings that would be so powerful and meaningful’," she cited the pope.

She said the director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, also accompanied the pope on his tour of the exhibition. They recalled the exhibition from the collection of the Vatican Pinacoteca hosted by the Tretyakov Gallery. A total of 42 masterpieces from the permanent exhibition were brought to Moscow then. "Our response was absolutely proportional, as many of our exhibits had never left Russia either," Tregulova said.

She said the two unprecedented exhibitions were organized due to unique cooperation of the two museums. "Only now we are beginning to realize that no other museums of the world have ever exchanged exhibitions of this level. No other museum can offer that many masterpieces from the permanent exhibition," she added. "This is a unique exchange and an absolutely unique result," she summed up.

The exhibition was organized with the participation of Vatican Museums and with the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation founded by Russian businessman and philanthropist Alisher Usmanov. It will run until February 16. The exhibition features more than 50 works of art, most of them from the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery.

Among the icons are the famous "Trinity", "Birth of Christ", "Crucifixion" and the icon of Vladimir Mother of God, as well as renowned paintings of the 19th century that all Russian people know since childhood, such as the "Bathing of the Red Horse" by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, "Unexpected Visitors" by Ilya Repin, "Troika" by Vasily Perov, Mikhail Vrubel’s "Demon", and "Black Square" by Kazimir Malevich". One of the focal points of the exhibition is "The Appearance of Christ to the People" by Alexander Ivanov, a huge canvas he painted in Rome.

Dionisius was a leading Moscow icon painter at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries.