Art that comforts
Vatican News

Vatican Museums: Come, let us worship #6

“The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.” These words of Pope Francis recall how the birth of Jesus has inspired generations of artists throughout history to evangelize through beauty. Every week the Vatican Museums and Vatican News offer a masterpiece from the pontifical collections, which are accompanied with a reflection from the Popes.

Brother Giovanni da Fiesole, called Blessed Fra Angelico (1395-1455); Preaching of St. Stephen and the Dispute in the Sanhedrin; 1448-1449; Vatican Apostolic Palace; Niccolina Chapel (Nicholas V 1447-1455); after restoration © Musei Vaticani

Blessed Fra Angelico painted the fresco in the Niccolina Chapel between 1448 and 1450. One of the protagonists of the scene is Saint Stephen, deacon and martyr. Taken from the Acts of the Apostles, the fresco recounts stories about his life and martyrdom. The entrance wall depicts the “Preaching of St. Stephen and the Dispute in the Sanhedrin”. The main character was a well-known orator, and is depicted as such by the artist. He preaches to the crowd, and debates with the Sanhedrin. Focusing on the life of St. Stephen meant evoking a poor, virtuous Church, founded on charity, ready for martyrdom: a Holy Church faithful to the Pope.

© Musei Vaticani
© Musei Vaticani

“In the school of Saint Stephen, who became similar to his Master both in life and in death, we too set our gaze on Jesus, a faithful witness of the Father. We learn that the glory of Heaven, the glory that lasts for eternal life, is not made up of wealth and power, but of love and self-giving.”

(Pope Francis – Feast of St. Stephen – Angelus – 2019)

Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
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26 December 2020, 09:00