40-metre picture of Pope John Paul II by Anetta Kuechler-Mocny

Muenster, Feb 9 (DPA) A Polish-born artist has completed a 40-metre-long painting depicting Pope John Paul II, and said she believes it is the largest oil painting ever of the late pope.

Made up of a series of 26 canvasses, each 2.5 metres tall, the composite picture is to go on public view from Wednesday until April in a theatre in the northern German city of Muenster.

‘Oh Karol’ depicts Polish-born Karol Wojtyla, who was pope from 1978 till 2005, at various stages of his papacy.

Anetta Kuechler-Mocny, 40, said Monday, ‘My topic was the burden that he had to bear. He was just a human being, but his task, his vocation made inhuman demands on him.’

She spent two years painting the monumental work, which measures exactly 39.5 metres end to end.

It depicts the old man leaning heavily on a stick, turning away from those who stare at him. In one scene he is seen from behind, in a chair that seems like a tombstone.

Only the final scene seems happy: ‘You could interpret that one as his death, his release into heaven with no more burdens,’ said the artist, who has lived in Germany for the past 15 years.

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