Below the roof are a series of large paintings installed in 2006. They replace original works that became dark and indecipherable over the decades. The current works were produced in New York at the studios of the Istanbul-born artist Levent Tuncer (b 1952).
Both sets of paintings copied cartoons painted by Raphael as patterns for tapestries to be hung in the Sistine Chapel as well as paintings of the apostles found in the Abbey Church of Tre Fontaine in Rome. The larger paintings depict moments in the life of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and are interspersed with smaller images of the apostles. On the west wall: The Descent of the Holy Spirit; The Conversion of St Paul; St Paul Preaching at Athens; Christ’s Threefold Command to St Peter; The Miraculous Draught of Fishes and The Death of Ananias. On the east wall: The Stoning of St Stephen; St Paul at Lystra: The Blinding of Elymas and The Healing of the Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate.
Attempts were made to restore the original paintings in 1962, 1979 and 1991. The decision to remove them came after a 2004 assessment conducted by the National Gallery found that the cost of restoration would be too high for the small likelihood of success in the project. One of the original paintings of an apostle has been rehung over the choir gallery in the northeast corner of the church. There are still hopes to attempt a restoration of the original works because of their importance as a complete set of 20 works still in the building for which they were painted.
Choose a place in the pews to sit and reflect for a moment