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 | Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency

A Sculpture of Jesus at Rome’s Airport is Taking Travelers by Surprise

April 25, 2023 | The next time you are flying through Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport you can see Jesus at Terminal 1.

The renowned Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famous sculpture Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) is on display at Rome’s airport.

Created by Bernini in 1679 and crafted entirely out of marble, Salvator Mundi is a Baroque masterpiece and the last sculpture finished by the master carver before he died in 1680.

The bust depicts Jesus with long, curling hair, looking serenely outward and stretching out his hand as if in blessing.

Salvator Mundi was only rediscovered in 2001 and can normally be seen at Rome’s Basilica of San Sebastiano Fuori le Mura.

The airport gained permission from the Italian Interior Ministry to display the piece for a limited time to commemorate Terminal 1’s grand reopening.

According to a statement by Aeroporti di Roma, the company that manages the Rome area airports, the display opened on April 12 and is part of the airport’s effort “to promote local and national art and culture among Italian and foreign passengers.”

According to The Art Newspaper, Bernini’s famous work will remain on display at the airport for approximately four weeks.

Located in Fiumicino and servicing the Rome metropolitan area, the Leonardo da Vinci Airport is the busiest in Italy.

The terminal housing the display can accommodate 6 million passengers annually, according to Areoporti di Roma.

Now, all those travelers can catch a glimpse of Jesus and perhaps say a quick prayer on the way to catch their flight.

Considered by many the greatest sculptor of the Baroque period, Catholics may be most familiar with Bernini’s gorgeous, twisted columns and baldachin (canopy) that surround and hover over the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Some of Bernini’s other most famous religious works include The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, the Death of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, and the colonnade enclosing St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.