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Vatican announces art contest for Stations of the Cross to be displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica

Attention Catholic artists: The Vatican has announced an art competition in which your paintings can be displayed inside of St. Peter’s Basilica along with the works of Renaissance masters Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The contest winner will get to showcase an original set of paintings of the Stations of the Cross for a temporary exhibition in the basilica during Lent 2026 and a cash prize of 120,000 euros (about $131,000).

The competition is free and open to artists from anywhere in the world. Artists are free to choose the style and technique but are required to paint the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross.

How to enter?

To enter, the Vatican asks that candidates fill out an online application form between Jan. 8 and Jan. 31, 2024.

The form will require the submission of a PDF containing a selection of no more than 10 previous original works of art accompanied by brief captions and relevant technical information.

Artists will also need to send in a brief curriculum vitae in English or Italian. The application form will be available on the official website of St. Peter’s Basilica starting on Jan. 8.

Selected candidates will be notified if they have been accepted into the Vatican art competition by March 15, 2024.

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Artists will then be asked to submit a framed original sketch of the 12th Station, “Jesus Dies on the Cross” measuring 50x50cm, as well as a second sketch in a clip frame of another Station of the Cross freely chosen by the artist.

The two sketches must be delivered to the Vatican either in person or by courier by July 15, 2024, to the following address:

Fabric of St. Peter in the Vatican 
Largo della Sagrestia, s.n.c. 
00120 Vatican City

The submitted sketches will be presented in a private exhibition at the Vatican and judged by a board appointed by the “Fabric of St. Peter,” the office responsible for the conservation and maintenance of St. Peter’s Basilica. More details and the contest rules can be found here.

The winner will be announced on Sept. 30, 2024, on the St. Peter’s Basilica website.

After being awarded the commission, the winning artist will have more than a year to complete the 14 paintings (each on a 4-foot by 4-foot canvas) of the Stations of the Cross by Dec. 31, 2025.

The winner’s paintings will be temporarily displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica for the liturgical season of Lent starting on Feb. 18, 2026.

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