Vatican Pavilion

The Vatican pavilion was an oval shaped building topped by a cross, with a curving wall extending from the entrance. The pavilion and its contents had as there theme, "The Church is Christ Living in the World."

The Vatican pavilion.

The most important work of art at the Fair was Michelangelo's 465 year old (in 1964) masterpiece in carved Carrara marble, the Pieta. The Pieta represents the body of Christ in the arms of His mother just after he was taken down from the cross. The work, six feet long by five feet nine inches high, was shown in a setting created by stage designer Jo Mielziner. Spectators were carried past it on three moving platforms at different heights. There was a walkway for those who wished to view it at their own pace. It was the first time that the Pieta had ever left the Vatican.

Michelango's marble masterpiece, the Pieta.

At the pavilions center was an exact replica of the excavation made under St. Peter's Basilica by archeologists in the 1940's and identified as St. Peter's burial place. And in the final ground floor room were transparencies of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and a photo exhibit on Catholic sacramental life.

The mezzanine floor had a Catholic chapel that seated 300 persons. Mass was said each morning, and the chapel was open all day.

Copyright © Jeffrey Stanton 1997
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