Thursday, September 17, 2015

'Splendors Of Vatican' Opens In Philly Saturday

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia welcomes some of the most revered treasures straight from the Vatican in Rome this fall with the debut of Vatican Splendors on Saturday, September 19. 

The exhibition, timed to take place during the historic Papal Visit and the 2015 World Meeting of Families Congress in Philadelphia, explores the historical and cultural impact of the Vatican over the span of 2,000 years through significantly relevant objectsmany of which have never before been on public view even at the Vatican in Rome. 

Every object in the exhibition tells its own story, together forming a great historical mosaic of the Vatican. Transported to Philadelphia amongst the precious objects, will be a Welcome Message signed by Pope Francis and dated September 1, 2015 expressing his belief that everyone will appreciate the art and beauty within the exhibit and his hope that each person finds something that speaks to his or her heart.

Highlights of the nearly 10,000 square-foot exhibition include documents signed by Michelangelo, tools used in work on the Sistine Chapel and Basilica of Saint Peter's, works by masters including Bernini and Guercino, artwork dating back to the first century, venerated remains (bone fragments) of Saints Peter and Paul, relics discovered at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, and historical objects from the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter's in Rome.

The exhibition is organized into 11 galleries that illustrate the evolution of the Church, with thematic areas highlighting important developments, people and events tied to the history of the Vatican, reflected in both important historical objects and artistic expression from different eras. The objects are presented in galleries and recreated environments designed to enhance the understanding of their historical and artistic significance. Visitors will feel transported to the Vatican, from the underground catacombs where the remains of Saint Peter were discovered to the magnificent papal chambers found above ground. From the sights and sounds of the grand Basilica to a touchable cast of Saint John Paul II's hand, the exhibition is a multi-sensory experience.

"There could not be a more fitting exhibition to bring to Philadelphia this fall than Vatican Splendors," explains Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute. "Even if you have been to the Vatican itself, this exhibition is an important one, as many of the objects have never been on public view, and several are all new to this tour."

The Franklin Institute is the only East Coast stop for the exhibition, the first of a two-city North American tour, after which the items will return to the Vatican, from which they cannot be absent for more than a year. The collection of priceless artifacts will be housed in the climate-controlled exhibit gallery in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion at The Franklin Institute.

"The World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 is so grateful to The Franklin Institute for bringing the Vatican Splendors, a truly extraordinary collection of art work, relics and artifacts straight from the Vatican, to Philadelphia right before the Holy Father's visit to our wonderful city," said Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015. "With so many cultural offerings and attractions that Philadelphia has to offer, what an incredible opportunity for families to experience the Vatican Splendors first-hand and make special memories that will last a lifetime."

Vatican Splendors is organized and circulated in conjunction with the Congregazione per l'Evangelizzazione dei Popoli of the Vatican City State. Items in the collectionwhich include mosaics, frescoes, paintings by Renaissance masters, works by well-known sculptors, intricately embroidered silk vestments, precious objects from the Papal Mass, uniforms of the Papal Swiss Guard, historical maps and documents and relics are on loan from The Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Vatican Library, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Apostolic Floreria, the Papal Swiss Guard, the Vatican Museums, and private collections. 

The exhibition is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions and presented by PECO.

Vatican Splendors will be open Thursday through Saturday from 9:30am- 9pm, with last exhibit entry at 7:30pm; Sunday through Wednesday from 9:30am-5pm, with last exhibit entry at 3:30pm.


Vatican Splendors

September 19, 2015-February 15, 2016

Daytime Tickets (Includes General Admission to The Franklin Institute)

Adults $34.95; Children (ages 3-11) $28.95

Evening Tickets (5pm-close)

Adults: $22.95; Children (ages 3-11) $14.95

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