1964 & 1965 Official Guidebook Entries


The description of this exhibit from the 1964 Official Guide Book

Cover- 1964 Guidebook

The description of this exhibit from the 1965 Official Guide Book

Cover - 1965 Guidebook

The location of this exhibit on the 1964 Official Souvenir Map

Cover - 1964 Official Souvenir Map

THE VATICAN

The most important work of art at the Fair is on display here. Michelangelo's 465-year-old masterpiece in carved Carrara marble, the Pieta, generally held to be one of the finest examples of Christian art in any medium. Installed in Old St. Peter's Basilica in 1499, it had never been taken from the Vatican until the late Pope John XXIII granted permission for it to be brought to the Fair. The pavilion in which it is exhibited is an oval-shaped building topped by a cross, with a curving wall extending from the entrance. The pavilion and its contents have as their theme, "The Church is Christ Living in the World."
* Admission: free.
 Highlights 
THE MASTERWORK. The Pieta represents the body of Christ in the arms of His mother just after He was taken down from the cross. The work, six feet long by five feet nine inches high, is shown in a setting created by stage designer Jo Mielziner. Spectators are carried past it on three moving platforms at different heights. There is a walkway for those who wish to view it at their own pace.
THE CHURCH'S WORK. Elsewhere in the pavilion slides dealing with religious themes are projected on a 10-screen curved wall, each screen contributing its own separate images to the theme.
ST. PETER'S CRYPT. In the center of the pavilion is an exact replica of the excavation made under St. Peter's Basilica by archeologists in the 1940s and identified as the site venerated since the First Century as the Apostle Peter's burial place.
THE GREAT CEILING. In the final ground floor room are the celebrated LIFE magazine transparencies of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and a photo exhibition on Catholic sacramental life. In separate kiosks are displays of coins and stamps having a religious significance, including the private collection of Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York.
THE CHAPEL. The mezzanine floor is a Catholic chapel seating 300 persons. Mass is said each morning, and the chapel is open through the day. Near the front is a statue of the Good Shepherd that comes from the Catacomb Era of the Third Century. It is among the earliest existing sculptural representations of Christ.

VATICAN

The main exhibit is the Fair's most important work of art: the "Pieta," Michelangelo's 466-year-old masterpiece in Carrara marble.

One of Christianity's best-known sculptures, the Pieta was installed in the Vatican in 1499, where it remained until being lent to the Fair. The statue is shown in an oval-shaped pavilion topped by a cross.

THE MASTERWORK. The Pieta represents the body of Christ in His mother's arms, just after He was taken from the cross. The statue is displayed in a setting by stage designer Jo Mielziner. Guest may view it from moving platforms.
TIARA. Also on view is the triple-crowned headdress of Pope Paul VI, presented to the United States through Cardinal Spellman.
ST. PETER'S CRYPT. An exact replica of the Apostle Peter's tomb under St. Peter's Basilica stands in the center of the pavilion.
GREAT CEILING. The LIFE Magazine transparencies of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling are shown.
THE CHAPEL. The 350-seat chapel is open all day; occasional Masses are offered. The statue of the Good Shepherd displayed there is among the earliest sculptures of Christ.
 
Admission: free.

Revised 3.08.07

View an on-line version of the Vatican Pavilion Guide. Read about the extraordinary precautions taken to ensure the safety of Michelangelo's Pieta on its voyage from Rome to America and at the Fair. Then discover the terrible twist of fate that awaited the famous statue back in Rome in light of the precautions taken for its World's Fair display.

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