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The first major exhibition of art from the Vatican collections ever to be sent abroad opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday, February 26. It will run through June 12. This is the first stop on a three-city tour of the United States. From New York, the exhibition will go to the Art Institute of Chicago where it will be on display from July 23 through October 16. It then travels to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum of The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco where it will remain from November 19 through February 19, 1984.

The exhibition's tour of the United States is sponsored by Philip Morris Incorporated through a $3 million grant to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as the show's organizing museum. Pan Am has been designated by the Metropolitan  as the official carrier of the exhibition. An indemnity has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Local corporate support for the installation and presentation of the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum has come from Manufacturers Hanover Corporation; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.; and the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Charitable Trust.

The 237 works of art in the exhibition have been drawn from the vast holdings within the Vatican, not only from the Vatican Museums, but also from the Apostolic Vatican Library, St. Peter's Basilica, its Grotte and its Treasury, and the papal apartments. The works range in date from Egyptian and classical antiquity to the 20th century.

The works that were chosen for this exhibition not only give an idea of the range and magnitude of the artistic resources housed in the Vatican (indeed among them some of the Western world's most admired ancient medieval and Renaissance masterpieces), but also reflect the history of papal patronage and show the way the popes have commissioned, collected and preserved works of art from the time of the foundation of old St. Peter's Basilica to the present day.

[[caption]] Known as the Belvedere Torso, this Parian marble sculpture fragment is believed to have been used as a model for the Sistine ceiling by Michelangelo. It is from the middle of the first century B.C. Overall height: 62 5/8" (159cm)[[/caption]] 

[[caption]] This terracotta sculpture (c. 1655) is by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Titled Habakkuk and the Angel, it depicts Habakkuk surrendering to the will of the angel who is about to transport him to Daniel's cave. It came to the Vatican Library in 1923 from the Chigi Collection. Overall height: 20 1/2° (52cm) [[/caption]]

[[caption]] This sculpture in Luni marble of Augustus of Prima Porta was found in 1863 in the ruins of a villa which once belonged to the second wife of Augustus. Dated about 20 B.C., this is believed to be a reworking of a classical model in bronze. Height: 86 1/4_ (219cm) [[/caption]] 

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