February 21, 2013

Eccentric Russian artist finds a career as papal portraitist

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As the popes' official painter, Natalia Tsarkova says she tries to capture both the physical reality and the spiritual essence of her subjects.  Tsarkova poses in front of the official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI she painted in 2007.  RNS photo courtesy Natalia Tsarkova.

As the popes' official painter, Natalia Tsarkova says she tries to capture both the physical reality and the spiritual essence of her subjects. Tsarkova poses in front of the official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI she painted in 2007. RNS photo courtesy Natalia Tsarkova.

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Natalia Tsarkova originally intended to stay in Rome for a few months when she arrived in 1994, but has managed to forge a career as the Vatican's official papal portraitist.