Abroad the alumni newsletter of the Bing Overseas Studies Program February, 2010. volume 8, number 2: 'Prof. Filippo Rossi: Ambassador of  Beauty at Stanford in Florence'.

On November 21, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI welcomed almost 300 artists, architects, performers, and directors from the world over for a private audience inside Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel. Among the many renowned artists present were Andrea Bocelli, Santiago Calatrava, Peter Greenaway, Mario Botta, Ennio Morricone, Giuseppe Tornatore and Franco Zeffirelli. Also in attendance was Filippo Rossi, Professor of Studio Art at The Breyer Center for Overseas Studies in Florence.! He was the youngest of the artists invited to the Vatican by the Holy Father to receive this honor and to participate in a meeting dedicated to the relationship and dialogue between art, beauty and faith. This prestigious recognition pays yet another extraordinary tribute to Rossi’s oeuvre, which revolves around poignant representations of the sacred and is a mature visual expression of his own faith.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his address, focused on the ontology of art and on the responsibility lying with each artist, noting that they need to “be grateful for the gifts received and fully conscious of the great responsibility to communicate beauty, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement." The Pontiff also emphasized that artists are the "custodians and ambassadors of beauty." The event and the Pope’s message, in Rossi’s words, “were extremely moving and renewed my energy not only in crafting my work but also served to inspire me further as an educator and mentor to budding artists.”

Rossi, who was accompanied to Rome by his wife and their three children, also added that this unforgettable experience immediately left a very strong mark on at least one of them.! Indeed, one of his sons, upon returning to Florence, boldly stated, “When I grow up I want to be the Pope!”


The alumni newsletter of the Bing Overseas Studies Program