Igor V. Babailov, Hon.RAA, KStA
His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II
Recent Official Portraits
" He will stand as the most influential moral voice of our time."
~ The Reverent Billy Graham
Portrait of Pope St. John Paul II
Oil on Canvas
Collection: Vatican, Castel Gandolfo
"BELIEVE", the portrait of Pope John Paul II was officially commissioned in commemoration of the World Youth Days and the 25th Anniversary of The Pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Creative research included references from the Vatican archives. Mr. Babailov was granted an audience with the Pope and received His Holiness's Blessing.
"Thank you for painting the Pope younger in his appearance, because he IS young and strong in his spirit, surrounded by the youth who had followed him, always replying generously to his call for a life of faith and love. How many experiences, how many feelings reflect the expression of the symbolism which is found in this painting! It is impossible to put them all in words..."
~ Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Ventura
This painting is more than a portrait in its 'traditional' sense. It is about the eternal values of humanity.
In "BELIEVE" the Artist identifies a number of those values, which are portrayed symbolically in the images of the Youth surrounding Pope St. John Paul II, known as "The Peoples' Pope", who also established the famous World Youth Day celebration.Some of those values are FAITH, LOVE, MERCY, and STRENGTH through Suffering.
The young people on the painting represent our future. According to Pope St. John Paul II, the Youth are ' The Salt of the Earth.' Regardless of our geographical and religious backgrounds, we are all 'Children of God.' As a family, we must be together in our souls and values.
"BELIEVE" is a part of the Vatican Museum collection.
By the Personal Decree of Pope John Paul II, "Believe" is displayed at the Vatican's historic Castel Gandolfo, the Papal Summer Residence.
"My ultimate goal and aim as an artist was to portray Pope St. John Paul II the way he would be remembered: energetic, 'down to earth' , much loved and close to people."
~ Igor V. Babailov