Pope Francis Art Contest

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#22 - Pope Francis by Olaf Tollefsen, Columbia, S.C. (Sumi Ink) - "This is a portrait of Pope Francis written in Arabic using the text from his speech on the balcony right after being elected Pope. Done in the style of Islamic calligraphy."

#22 - Pope Francis by Olaf Tollefsen, Columbia, S.C. (Sumi Ink) - "This is a portrait of Pope Francis written in Arabic using the text from his speech on the balcony right after being elected Pope. Done in the style of Islamic calligraphy."

Artists from 8 countries around the world sent in their submissions for the Religion News Service Pope Francis Art Contest. We received 24,156 votes for 45 entries. Voting is now closed, but you can still browse through the entries below. Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Click on any image below to view full images as a photo slideshow.


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  • tina rowe

    # 4

  • Tina – please submit your vote using the form under the slideshow. If you don’t see the form in your browser, you may try using a different browser. Thanks!

  • Tom

    I believe drawing #44, by Ciaran Miller is truly masterful. With a calming and heartfelt simplicity and confidence.,Ms. Miller has evoked in composition and material a grace and warmth of spirit that is both a reflection of herself and of her subject. For me she is already a winner.. I would love to see her future drawings- a real talent

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  • I voted for 17, even though I found 37 and 38 almost as compelling and in some ways more interesting artistically.

    But 17 won me over because along with the love in the man, it conveys his intelligence hard (and transparently) at work. And almost uniquely in the whole series, here it is clear that he is not simply sharing himself (which many of the entries convey beautifully) but LISTENING to someone out there, someone he’s looking right at. It shows him in relationship with a real person. It’s not about him, and he isn’t looking at me, but the power of the human connection that makes this the best entry. It helps explain the trust I already feel in Pope Francis.

  • Tom, thank you for your comments!

  • Paul, interesting reflection. Thank you for sharing!

  • stephen d. gross

    It looks more like him than the others – he looks ageless, not a line in his face and a totally inoffensive attitude.

  • Bill Steo

    I understood that contestants were asked to depict Pope Francis. I think any attempt to convey some message by means of the artwork diminishes or fails to do this. Some entries have a cartoonish quality, not objectionable as such, but certainly less a depiction of the Pope that an expression of some feeling, attitude, or message.

  • Tony Anselm

    Bill Steo didn’t say which picture he chose. His ideas seem correct.

  • Bill Steo

    I thought number 18 by Erika Terezia, n artist in Romania, was the best.

  • Anastasia Voyatjides

    Fransisco, oramos por vos.

  • Suzanne Bona

    #20 — “Santo” Capturing the spirit of Saint Francis.

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  • linda mccue

    I chose number 40 because through the work of the artist Pope Francis showed love and joy especially in his eyes .Thank you Mathew Van Hecke.

  • linda mccue

    I apologize for my error in my comment above I chose number 30 by Mathew Van Hecke .

  • I choose #20 because I love the happy contented glow on the pope’s face and I enjoy the whimsical images relating him to St. Francis of Asisi.

  • Thank you all for your comments and sharing the art you chose.

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  • A. Bell

    I love the blue smile, it brings warmth.

  • Denis Daniel

    I’ve voted for #42 because it is very simple, comprehensible and thoroughly meaningful.

  • Alan Yost

    Thank you, Denis Daniel.

  • Kim Colletti

    #44 by Barbara Weeks captures the Pope’s joy!

  • Jill

    I really love them all! I think that #25 shows the amazing connection Pope Frances has with the Holy Spirit that is symbolized with his outreaching hand in the beautiful sky towards the dove. Thank you Claire Tabera.

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  • Got to be #21.

  • Betty

    I voted for #37 because I was drawn to his impish smile which makes me feel he is kind,has a sense of humor and loves people.

  • I think that this took more imagination than actual drawings . This is really neat and could mean something to the younger crowd .

  • Lucille

    #2 is a very nice portrait. I also like 37 and 18. I thing these are very good renderings of Pope Francis. But #2 is certainly my favorite.

  • Lucille

    I also like # 11

  • Elizabeth Crawford

    Marshall is a very talented artist and I am happy to vote for him.

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  • Rebecca

    Portrait number 20 is a brilliant depiction. This illustration depicts the warmth of Pope Francis character, illuminating a Christ-like, loving and humble spirit. This glowing silhouette reminds us to not worry, as the Pope is surrounded by the birds of the air. The warm animal life portrays both a gentle soul and an inner fire lit against the vast blue sky. This whimsical portrait uniquely allows us to view St. Francis as both likeable and approachable. His world weary eyes depict wisdom, while his enlarged ears portray listening. At the center of this image is the cross. This image captures our hearts and is truly engaging.


    Debby I love your panting of the pope. You are so talented!!
    VOTE FOR #2 SHE IS AMAZING !!!!!!!


    VOTE FOR # 2

  • Catherine

    I voted for #37 ….It brings so much hope and joy to my heart….

  • Barb Slater

    Terry Ingram has captured the “smiling pope” beautifully!

  • Joe

    Vote #23! It truly depicts Pope Francis so well!

  • Elizabeth D

    I liked #42 because I liked the idea of Saints Francis and Ignatius together and standing with Pope Francis.

  • #26! The peepal conclave!

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  • Bill

    Says this contest is open until midnight Sunday. Does that mean when Saturday turns to Sunday, or very end of day Sunday?

  • Bill – you can vote until Sunday night at midnight (Sunday turns to Monday), Eastern Time. Thanks!

  • This is an amazing collection of art and I like them all but #4 spoke to me immediately. It is Pope Francis to the “T”

  • Dorine Greene

    #4 The hand said it all and the face expressed a heart full of love.

  • Gert

    So saintly, sweet and dear.

  • Carmelita Ginting


  • Nicole

    VOTE FOR # 2 !!!!!!!

  • #9 – Pope Francis by John Keeling, Kansas City, MO. I selected this watercolor before I realized John Keeling is from my hometown of Kansas City, MO! Thank you John, for representing the art of Kansas City so well!!!

  • Michael

    So many great ones!! But I vote for #16! Love that smile and I think it captures his personality so well.

  • Gemma

    It says vote as many times as you wish, does it mean vote for any number of them? Because I did.
    1) Nobody mentioned this piece? Its simplicity and originality stands out for me. But how it captures the joy and confidence of this Pope with the profound symbolism of trying to steer the barque of Peter, er the bicycle (no carbon footprint less than a Focus) is a winner. #13 Adelante
    2) Yes, #20 appeals to all – who doesn’t love animal-loving Francis? It is rated G but obviously done with much love and thought, even looks professional.
    3) I have to choose a serious piece, too. It’s got be #11 – it captures the Pope quite well. The wistfulness, then acceptance of his fiat (can I use that?) which culminate in a sense of comfort for his role as Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ.
    That should cover it all. Hope one of them wins.

  • Terry

    I’d like to thank Religion News Service for the Pope Francis Art contest, specifically Photo/Multimedia Editor, Sally Morrow.
    Thank you Sally for the opportunity to share our art work and for answering all of our questions.
    This is an informative web site. I’m glad to have been introduced to it by a spiritual friend of mine, Sister Ellen.

  • Debby

    I agree that this was a fun competition to participate in. I think it is great to use artwork to engage the culture. Thank you for putting it together and I hope you have more art competitions in the future.

  • Cleo Martin


  • Terry – you are very welcome. Enjoy the site!

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  • Kathy


  • Theresa Montoya

    I really love #18 pencil drawing of Pope Francis. Erika Tereizia from Romania is the artist! Lovely picture!

  • Jan Collins Eaglin

    #37 – Love one another, Terry Ingram

  • Rick M.

    I’ll cast my vote for #20 ! I love the joyful feeling in the artwork, which reflects the joy that is evident in our new Pope’s heart.

  • Novinca

    Vote #36!

  • Who won the draw the pope contest?? I never saw the results. Please let us know.

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  • I vote for #40, Kristian Oliver.

  • Denise O’Rourke

    I like #24 by Brother Mickey O’Neil McGrath. His art if so very special.

  • Cathy Johnson

    I love #20.