Pope calls for an 'era of spiritual art'
From a Special Correspondent
The Pope opened a Vatican Gallery of Modern Art on Saturday, in which he described as an attempt to bring the Church closer to "the spirit of our times". Picasso is represented among hundreds of works by 20th-century painters and
The collection, housed in a redesigned renaissance gallery, .next to the Sistine chapel, was 'started by the Pope soon after his election ten years ago last Thursday.
Spread through a series of small rooms in the Borgia apartment, -the collection contains mainly religious-inspired works by Picasso, Matisse. Rodin, Gauguin, Kokoshka, Dali and about 200 others from all over the world and of many creeds.
The new gallery. officially described as the "Collection of Modern Religious Art", represents the first time in more than 150 years that the Vatican Museum has given room to work by living artists on a large scale.
Officials said the 75-year-old Pope, who has talked of a gulf between the Church and artists this century because of a misunderstanding by both, had made modern art his "private hobby" while he was still Archbishop of Milan.
He called for a new era of spiritual art following the re forming 1962-65 Vatican Council
Last Thursday, on the anniversary of his election, the Pope mentioned the event only in passing as he marked the Feast of Corpus Christi. From the window of his study at noon, he bleseed thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Later the same day he celebrated Mass in a working class parish for thousands of Romans enjoying the day both as a public and religious holiday.
Full observance of the anniversary was deferred until Saturday, when, as well as Opening the gallery, Pope Paul attended a concert by the Newark Boys' Choir. conducted by Leonard Bernstein, the American. Jewish cornposer.
The Vatican will take part M the European Security conference in Helsinki next month, the Pope announced to the Sacred College of Cardinals, which met to mark the anniversary.