VATICAN CITY (CNS) — There’s another kind of academy award being hosted this year.

A pontifical academy founded during the Renaissance has announced a cash prize of $22,000 in a contest for young artists whose work promotes “Christian humanism.”

Pope Francis was scheduled to award the “Prize of the Pontifical Academies” to the winner or winners at the Vatican later in the year.

In partnership with the Pontifical Council for Culture, the contest is handled by the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters — a papal association founded in 1542 to recognize the achievements of individuals in art, architecture, literature and music.


The contest “is open to young artists and institutions of any nationality, active in the fields of literature, poetry and music and also to institutions dedicated to artistic formation in these fields. Their work or activity must contribute to the development of Christian humanism and its artistic expressions,” the academy said in a press release.

Individuals must be between 25 and 40 years of age on April 30, and institutions must have been active for less than 20 years, it said.

The application process entails sending a letter stating one’s candidacy along with a resume and “a dossier containing the description of the artistic itinerary undertaken, possibly providing copies of publications, scores or musical” recordings. Institutions should include a copy of their statutes and documentation displaying their “artistic formative activity undertaken in the last decade.”

The jury, which is made up of the academy members, will choose a short list of candidates for members of other papal academies to evaluate, and the pope will choose the final winner. In the case of more than one winner, the 20,000 euro prize will be divided equally.

Application materials will be accepted until May 14 and must be sent to:

Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi at the Pantheon
Via della Conciliazione 5
00120, Vatican City

Further information can be requested at

Past winners include Spanish painter David Lopez Ribes; Polish designer, sculptor and painter Anna Gulak; U.S. theologian John Mortensen in 2010 for his doctoral dissertation, “Understanding Analogy in St. Thomas Aquinas”; and U.S. theologian Pia de Solenni in 2001 for her study of various feminist theories in light of St. Thomas’ anthropology and theology.


You can read the official call for submissions in English here and in Spanish here.