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.