A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present Benedict XVI's forthcoming meeting with artists, which is due to take place in the Sistine Chapel on 21 November.
Among those participating in the press conference were Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums.
Archbishop Ravasi explained how his dicastery is promoting and organising the meeting, which will coincide with the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists of 4 April 1999, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists of 7 May 1964.
"The aim of the meeting", said the archbishop, "is to renew friendship and dialogue between the Church and artists, and to encourage new opportunities for collaboration".
For his part, Antonio Paolucci explained how the artists invited, their numbers necessarily limited due to the space available in the Sistine Chapel, come from all the continents, "They are", he said, "men and women of different cultures and languages: ... painters, sculptors, architects, writers and poets, musicians and singers, directors and actors from cinema and theatre, dancers".
On the evening of 20 November, before their meeting with the Holy Father on 21 November, the artists will visit the Vatican Museums' collection of modern and contemporary art, which was created at the express wish of Paul VI.
The Sistine Chapel is quite a thing to behold, but how cool it would be to be there with the pope!