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Rome exhibit traces European history through its saints

Published on 12/10/2009

Rome -- An art exhibition that explores European history through depictions of its patron saints is set to open in Rome this week.

The exhibition, entitled "Power and Grace," aims to show the role that the Christian faith has played in the major political and cultural developments in Europe from the last 2,000 years.

It includes works by major artists such as Van Eyck, Rubens, Holbein, El Greco and Grasset and will be on display at the National Museum of Venezia Palace.

The exhibition, which is being promoted by the Italian government and the Vatican, will be inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Holy See’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

It opens to the public from Thursday and runs until January 10.

Some 80 works of art have been loaned from some of Europe’s top museums for the exhibition, including the Louvre in Paris and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

Visitors to the Venezia Palace will be able to travel through 10 periods in time: from the days of the martyrs under the Roman Empire right through to the 20th century.

"It is a fascinating exhibition that raises real questions about our history, but also about the present day," Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi told a press conference on Tuesday.

In addition to paintings, "Power and Grace" also features sculptures, crowns and film clips.