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Vatican to explore the spiritual side of Andy Warhol in new exhibition

American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol, right, with English artist David Hockney (Photo: Getty)

The Vatican Museums are to investigate the “spiritual side” of Andy Warhol in a major exhibition to take place next year.

Vatican officials are in the final stage of talks with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, according to The Art Newspaper. The exhibition is planned to be shown in Pittsburgh as well as Rome.

Barbara Jatta, the director of the Vatican Museums, said: “We are very interested in exploring the artist’s spiritual side.

“It is very, very important for us to have a dialogue with contemporary art. We live in a world of images and the Church must be part of this conversation.”

The artist, best known for his depiction of a can of soup and his silkscreen images of Marilyn Monroe, was a dedicated Mass-goer who remained celibate throughout his life.

Born to Slovakian parents, he was raised in the Ruthenian rite, an Eastern rite in full communion with Rome, in Pittsburgh.

Later, in New York, he would stop at the Church of St Vincent Ferrer most days, either to attend Mass or to sit at the back in silent prayer, according to Kathy Schiffer at Aleteia.org. He volunteered at a soup kitchen and even financed his nephew’s studies for the priesthood.

Art historian John Richardson reportedly said at his funeral that he was an “effective proselytiser”, who was “responsible for at least one conversion”.

In the last year of his life he painted more than 100 images inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

The exhibition at the Vatican, according to The Art Newspaper, will include some of these paintings as well as silkscreens of skulls. It is expected to take place in the Braccio di Carlo Magno, a display space in St Peter’s Square.