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The Vatican will be the most talked-about newcomer

Representation in Venice is as important for nations as for artists. A pavilion at the Biennale is a sign that a state, no matter how troubled or politically backward, has joined the Western cultural consensus. It’s six years since the first whispers of a plan for a Vatican pavilion at the fifty-fourth Biennale followed the appointment in 2009 of the art-loving Gianfranco Ravasi as President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.