Pope Francis Takes First #Artselfie With the Sistine Chapel

The Pope gets social media-savvy.

Pope Francis. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Pope Francis entered the Instagram age in March, and quickly amassed over two million followers under the handle @francisus. On May 3, the leader of the Roman Catholic church posted his first image featuring the Vatican’s renowned art collection, a stunning shot of the pontiff entering the Sistine Chapel.

It’s an interesting choice for Pope Francis’s first #artselfie, as the Vatican strictly prohibits all photography of the Renaissance masterpiece during tourist visits. Michelangelo created the famed ceiling, featuring The Creation of Adam, between 1508 and 1512, while the Last Judgment fresco on the altar wall was painted between 1536 and 1541.


The popular attraction has become even more busy thanks to a new climate control system that increases the maximum capacity in the Vatican Museums. Although the space is available to rent for lavish parties, Pope Francis also invited a group of homeless men and women for a private viewing last March. (Separately, gay art tours of the Vatican have become somewhat of a trend.)

Since first logging on six weeks ago, the Pope has posted 54 times, including a selfies with young people and shots of himself planting a tree, making confession, and releasing a dove in St. Peter’s Square. For what it’s worth, he appears to be an exclusively #nofilter kind of guy.

During Pope Francis’s historic visit to the US last September, the Pope was spotted with a number of high-profile artworks. In New York, the Pontiff paid his respects at the National September 11 Memorial Museum, where he paused in front of Spencer Finch’s Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning.

In Philadelphia, he was greeted with Robert Indiana‘s AMOR and a massive participatory installation by Meg Saligman inspired by his favorite painting, Mary, Undoer of Knots. “Vatican Splendors,” a travelling exhibition from the Vatican collection, also made the journey to the City of Brotherly Love.

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