NEW YORK.-Pope Benedict XVI will be presented with his official papal portrait painted by world renowned artist to presidents, popes, world leaders, and distinguished individuals, Igor Babailov, MFA, upon his arrival at the Vatican Embassy in Washington. Babailov painted the officially commissioned portraits including those of John Paul II, President George W. Bush, Nobel Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela, Sen. Hillary R. Clinton, President Putin of Russia, Isadore Sharp
(Founder of The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts) and scores of other leaders and celebrities. The life-size painting will be presented to the Pope by the Vatican's Papal Nuncio to the US.
A preview painting unveiling ceremony was held on Thursday, April 3rd at the Vatican Embassy officiated, by Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, DD, widely regarded as one of the Vatican's most distinguished diplomats. Also in attendance was twice former US Ambassador Michael Novak.
Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi acclaimed, "This painting is much more than an image, it is a painting of a presence." The painting remains in draped private seclusion in the Pope's quarters at the embassy.
According to Babailov, deemed by contemporaries as a 'living master' and 'Michelangelo of our times', "My painting is dedicated to Pope Benedict's steadfast servant leadership for truth, unyielding against adversity and committed to the highest ethics and traditions in the doctrine of the faith and Judaic-Christian heritage."
Babailov has done six portrait sketches from life with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI's portrait bears a commemorative plaque dedication and includes Xaverian High School, Brooklyn, New York, the John Paul II Cultural Center in DC, and Ave Maria University.
Igor Babailov is one of the very few artists in this century to have
painted official Vatican paintings of Popes, as his first official portrait
of Pope John Paul II hangs on the Vatican walls in Rome.