On the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci, better known as Perugino (c. 1450 – 1523), the Vatican Museums are celebrating the great Umbrian master by bringing to the attention of the public at large, with its exceptional display in the Vatican Pinacoteca, from 28 June to 15 September, a painting that is almost never visible yet in its own way very much on view.
It is the Resurrection of Christ, an altarpiece created in 1499 for a family chapel in the church of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia. The artist was then almost fifty years of age, and was engaged in numerous commissions, but the perfect functioning of his workshop enabled him to maintain very high production quality.
The French Army removed the altarpiece from the church in 1797 and it was exhibited in Paris, before being returned to the Pope in 1815. One hundred and fifty years later, Paul VI wanted the painting to be placed in his private library, removing it from the Vatican Pinacoteca.
From then on, apart from a brief interlude for its restoration in 2000-2002, and its subsequent display in the Sistine Hall, the Resurrection – also known as the “Pope’s Perugino” – has remained in that study in the papal apartment of representation, inaccessible to most, but continually in view in official photographs and television footage. It has provided the customary backdrop, for nearly sixty years, visiting no less than four Pontiffs, for a line-up of the world’s great figures, heads of State and government, distinguished figures and various celebrities.
A truly unique and unmissable opportunity to view the work, before it returns to its privileged position in Pope Francis’ private library.