Pope invites artists to Sistine chapel

POPE Benedict XVI has invited 500 artists from around the world to a rare meeting at the Sistine Chapel in November to revive links between art and religion.


It will be the first such meeting since Pope Paul VI 45 years ago met artists at the chapel famous for its frescoes painted by Michelangelo.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Roman Catholic Church's relations with artists had been good in the past but the two worlds were currently in a "divorce".

The Pope "will invite artists to resume dialogue with the Church," Cardinal Ravasi said, adding that the November 21 meeting would be the "starting stage".

"We would like for this meeting to be followed by a series of concrete achievements," he said.

"The Pope is opening the dialogue, saying the Church needs to have ties with art. The artists should start responding through their work," Cardinal Ravasi said.

The Vatican has invited 500 painters, sculptors, architects, writers, musicians, singers and film and theatre directors to the meeting, said Monsignor Pasquale Iacobone, head of the culture council's art and faith department.

About 75 artists have agreed to attend the gathering so far, including Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone, US stage director Bob Wilson, Italian film-maker Giuseppe Tornatore and Mexican sculptor Sebastian.