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Rome, Italy

La Resurrezione

If you want to talk to the Pope you will have to stare down this surreal vision of Jesus rising from a nuclear hell. 

Looming over the main stage of the Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City, La Resurrezione depicts a thoroughly modern resurrection scene that dwarfs the sitting Pope as he receives his general audience.

Installed in 1977, the massive sculptural piece shows a rapturous Jesus figure held aloft on plumes of twisted metal brambles. Made of a bronze-copper alloy, the gigantic piece of religious misery stands over 20 feet tall and over 60 feet long, weighing in at a whopping eight tons. While the imposing display is fairly abstract, it is said to specifically depict Christ rising from a nuclear crater, invoking the 20th century fear of the bomb. The thick fumes of toxic smoke portrayed in the piece almost seem to writhe beneath the over-sized Son of God. 

This evocative piece is located in the audience hall used by the Pope to deliver his less popular general audiences and oratories. These smaller (by comparison) events offer a chance to get a bit more up close and personal with the Pope, but one must still confront the beauty and (the horror) of La Resurrezione.