Leonardo DiCaprio has met Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss their shared their concern about the environment and give him a cheque to use on charity works “close to your heart”.
“Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you,” DiCaprio said in Italian as he arrived in the Apostolic Palace and kissed the pope’s ring.
Later, in English, DiCaprio offered the Pontiff a book of works by the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and showed him the reproduction of Bosch’s Garden Of Earthly Delights which had hung over his crib as a child.
The triptych depicts Adam and Eve in the first panel, a teeming landscape in the centre panel, and finally a vision of hell.
“As a child I didn’t quite understand what it all meant, but through my child’s eyes it represented a planet, the utopia we had been given, the overpopulation, excesses, and the third panel we see a blackened sky that represents so much to me of what’s going in in the environment,” DiCaprio told the Pope.
DiCaprio said he thought the painting also represented Francis’ environmental concerns.
An assistant then handed Francis an envelope and explained it was a cheque from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Francis has been praised for his denunciation of the world’s fossil fuel-based economy and its demand for greener energy sources.
DiCaprio, nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Revenant, is a longtime environmental campaigner who in 1998 launched his foundation to support initiatives aimed at sustainability.
He recently addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, announcing the foundation was donating another $15m to environmental projects and pleading with business leaders to battle global warming.