“Christo’s box, between Art and Mercy, a Gift for Bangui” is the name of the project supported by the Secretariat for Communications and the Vatican Museums, which was presented by the artist himself at the Raphael Hall at the Vatican Pinacoteca.
The artist, who will turn 81 years old on June 13, is well known for his works of art that involve “packaging” or wrapping – such as at Rome’s Porta Pinciana in 1974 and Berlin’s Reichstag in 1995. The idea for the initiative came from a work of art that Christo created through “packaging” a container for a DVD series produced by CTV entitled “Discovering the Vatican”. The protagonist of the work on the cover of the DVD set is a figure from Raphael’s “The School of Athens”, the most famous of his frescoes in the Vatican: the young cousin of Pope Julius II, who appears next to Aristotle.
Christo has donated the ‘master’ work to the Vatican where it will be safeguarded by the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See. The 300 “multiple” cases, numbered and signed by the artist, will be auctioned off by Christie’s for 1,000 euros each in London, Turin, Milan and Rome. Proceeds will go – as Pope Francis has asked – to the pediatric hospital of the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, which the pope visited in November.
Christo is currently working on a 3.5-kilometer installation over Lake Iseo, which in June will “give you the feeling of walking on water”, said Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect for the Secretariat for Communications.