Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope,the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.
Even though I am not into religion, but more into spirituality, the first person on my list would be Pope Francis. This interesting personality inspired me to paint him because of his sincere humility and immeasurable compassion. After I finished the painting, it was my goal to present it face to face to the Pope. By the end of 2015 the dream come true and I got invited from the pontiff’s right-hand, Monseñor Guillermo Karcher, to the Vatican City.
I flew to Rome with my wife and kids within five days of hearing the news for this encounter with the Pope. We attended the Papal Audience where the painting was presented. Francis walked up to me and expressed: “When I see this painting, I see a reflection of myself”. Those words fulfilled my whole trip. I remember I was so happy and in a deep emotion that after I left the Vatican we sat with my wife for a coffee and we started laughing and laughing without sense for the moment. We just experienced and those laughs ended in tears. As a portrait artist I think he was the most popular person at the moment that’s why after a long silence I asked myself …”now who??”. According with the pontiff’s private secretary, Francis was so fond of the piece that he did not hang it in the Vatican collection as originally planned. Instead, he wanted it all to himself. This was a real delight for me.