St. Peter’s Basilica. / Mazur/cbcew.org.uk.
Vatican City, Mar 2, 2022 / 10:05 am (CNA).
The Vatican is inviting Catholics to pray the Stations of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica every Friday during Lent.
Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, who is in charge of liturgies and maintenance of the Vatican basilica, said that the prayer, held at 4 p.m. local time, will be accompanied by paintings of the Passion of Christ by the Italian artist Gaetano Previati (1852-1920).
Christ Crucified, by Gaetano Previati (1881). Sailko via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)
The pieces, created in 1901-1902, depict the stages of Christ’s Passion and death, which are the focus of the popular Lenten devotion known as the Way of the Cross, or Via Crucis.
From March 4 to April 20, the paintings will be set up along the transept and nave of St. Peter’s Basilica for prayer and viewing.
According to the Fabric of St. Peter, the office which oversees the conservation of St. Peter’s Basilica, it will be the first time that Previati’s Stations of the Cross paintings have been displayed inside a sacred building.
Driving the Merchants Out of the Temple, by Gaetano Previati. Public Domain
The 120-year-old paintings were recently restored by the Vatican Museums, which is loaning the paintings to the basilica.
“Previati created ‘The Passion’ to stimulate people to pray through art: we are happy that this intention of his, 120 years after the realization of the work (1902), has found in St. Peter’s the place where it can be realized,” a press release said.
Gaetano Previati in his studio. Public domain.
Previati, born in Ferrara, northern Italy, is described as a Symbolist painter in the Divisionist style. He died at the age of 67 in Lavagna, a city in the Italian region of Liguria.