For some, LEGO is just a plaything, while for others, it is a way of life. For still others, like Reverend Bob Simon, it is almost close to religion; so close indeed that he spent the last 10 months building an incredibly-detailed LEGO replica of the Vatican. Simon, a pastor at Pennsylvania’s St. Catherine of Siena Church, has created this stunning LEGO model, in honor of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Philadelphia, between September 25 and 27.
For the artwork, Simon meticulously stacked over half a million LEGO bricks in the shape of St. Peter’s Basilica and Square. His recreation of the world’s larget church is breathtakingly-detailed, complete with tiny versions of the colonnades and the obelisk. In addition to miniature figures of the Pope, the priests, the guards and the tourists, it features an array of intricate details, including the Pope’s skullcap, the safety blockades lining the church’s entrance as well as a nun taking selfies with a mini camera.
The project is one of Simon’s many attempts to fulfill his childhood dream, of constructing a LEGO replica of the Vatican. His latest endeavor began back in 2013, when he started collecting the plastic blocks. At 10 cents apiece, the total cost of building the model is estimated to be around $50,000 (approx. £32,195). Speaking about his creation, the artist said:
It was an exercise in patience. I was thrilled with the way that everything came out. It was daunting.
The artwork is currently on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.