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Vatican hosts Russian art, icons from Tretyakov Gallery

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is hosting an unprecedented exhibition of Russian fine art, bringing treasures from Moscow’s famed Tretyakov Gallery to Rome following a sold-out exhibit of Vatican works at the state museum two years ago.

The Tretyakov is loaning some of its most important paintings and religious icons for “Pilgrimage of Russian Art: From Dionysius to Malevich.” Many of them are leaving the gallery for the first time.

Organizers said Monday that the exchange was discussed when President Vladimir Putin met in 2013 with Pope Francis. The Vatican Museums have proposed similar cultural exchanges with China, part of the soft diplomacy the Holy See encourages in places where Catholics are a minority.

The free exhibit runs from Tuesday through Feb. 16 at the Braccio di Carlo Magno gallery, off St. Peter’s Square.

The Associated Press