Apocalypse Arrives to Vatican Museums

Exhibition Focuses on Last Book of Bible

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- As the Church begins to arrive to the end of the liturgical year, and thoughts turn toward the end of times, the Vatican has put the Apocalypse on display.



"Apocalypse: the Final Revelation" is the title of an exhibition inaugurated today in the Sistine Hall of Vatican Museums. The exposition is composed of more than 100 works of art, all centered on the Book of Revelation.

The Apocalypse is another name for the last book of the New Testament, also known as Revelation. The work is commonly attributed to St. John the Evangelist, and it describes his mystical visions during his exile to the Greek island of Patmos.

The spokesman for the exhibition, Francesco Buranelli, who is also the director of the Vatican Museums, said that in Revelation there is talk of persecutions, "a hot topic in our times in which the Church is also persecuted."

Alessio Geretti, the director of the exposition, said that the "Apocalypse isn't a book of catastrophes, but rather a book of hope."

The event, which will run until Dec. 7, has been organized at the initiative of the St. Florian Committee of the Archdiocese of Udine, Italy. The committee explained that its aim is to invite people "to reconsider the last book of the New Testament through a selection of masterworks, outstanding among them a series of ancient icons."

The exhibition is made up of codices, paintings on wood panel, canvases, sculptures, jewelry, engravings and drawings that all date from the fourth to the 20th century.

Some of the works of art are on loan from museums such the Louvre in Paris, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and the national museums of Budapest and Warsaw.

One large section of the exhibition is made up of Byzantine and Russian icons. The centerpiece of the exhibition is composed of important works that record the history of the artistic representation of the Apocalypse.