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The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani) are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display,[3] and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.[4]

Vatican Museums
Musei Vaticani
Lightmatter vaticanmuseum.jpg
Sculptures above the exits of museums
Vatican Museums is located in Vatican City
Vatican Museums
Location of the Vatican Museums within Vatican City
Established 1506 (1506)
Location Vatican City
Coordinates 41°54′23″N 12°27′16″E / 41.90639°N 12.45444°E / 41.90639; 12.45444Coordinates: 41°54′23″N 12°27′16″E / 41.90639°N 12.45444°E / 41.90639; 12.45444
Type Art museum
Visitors 6 million (2013)[1]
Director Barbara Jatta[2]
Website Official website
The Vatican Museums, north of St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century.[5] The Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael, are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2013, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 6th most visited art museum in the world.[1]

There are 54 galleries, or sale, in total,[citation needed] with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum. It is one of the largest museums in the world.

In 2017, the Museum's official website and social media presence was completely redone, in accord with current standards and appearances for modern websites.[6]

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Spiral stairs of the Vatican Museums, designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932.

The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago: Laocoön and His Sons was discovered on 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who were working at the Vatican, to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture, which depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons being attacked by giant serpents, on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery.

Benedict XIV founded the Museum Christianum, and some of the Vatican collections formed the Lateran Museum, which Pius IX founded by decree in 1854.[7]

The Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary in October 2006 by permanently opening the excavations of a Vatican Hill necropolis to the public.[8]

On 1 January 2017, Barbara Jatta became the Director of the Vatican Museums, replacing Antonio Paolucci who had been director since 2007.[9][10]

Pinacoteca VaticanaEdit

The art gallery was housed in the Borgia Apartment until Pope Pius XI ordered construction of a proper building. The new building, designed by Luca Beltrami, was inaugurated on 27 October 1932.[11] The museum has paintings including:

Collection of Modern Religious ArtEdit

The Collection of Modern Religious Art was added in 1973 and houses paintings and sculptures from artists like Carlo Carrà, Giorgio de Chirico, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso.[12]

Sculpture museumsEdit

The group of museums includes several sculpture museums surrounding the Cortile del Belvedere.

Museo Pio-ClementinoEdit

 
The New Wing, Braccio Nuovo built by Raffaele Stern
 
A Roman naval bireme depicted in a relief from the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia in Praeneste (Palestrina),[13] constructed c. 120 BC;[14] exhibited in the Pius-Clementine Museum (Museo Pio-Clementino) of the Vatican.

The museum takes its name from two popes; Clement XIV, who established the museum, and Pius VI, the pope who brought the museum to completion. Clement XIV came up with the idea of creating a new museum in Innocent VIII's Belvedere Palace and started the refurbishment work.[15]

Pope Clement XIV founded the Pio-Clementino museum in 1771, and originally it contained the Renaissance and antique works. The museum and collection were enlarged by Clement's successor Pius VI. Today, the museum houses works of Greek and Roman sculpture. Some notable galleries are:

  • Greek Cross Gallery: (Sala a Croce Greca): with the porphyri sarcophagi of Constance and Saint Helen, daughter and mother of Constantine the Great.
  • Sala Rotonda: shaped like a miniature Pantheon, the room has impressive ancient mosaics on the floors, and ancient statues lining the perimeter, including a gilded bronze statue of Hercules.
  • Gallery of the Statues (Galleria delle Statue): as its name implies, holds various important statues, including Sleeping Ariadne and the bust of Menander. It also contains the Barberini Candelabra.
  • Gallery of the Busts (Galleria dei Busti): Many ancient busts are displayed.
  • Cabinet of the Masks (Gabinetto delle Maschere): The name comes from the mosaic on the floor of the gallery, found in Villa Adriana, which shows ancient theater masks. Statues are displayed along the walls, including the Three Graces.
  • Sala delle Muse: Houses the statue group of Apollo and the nine muses, uncovered in a Roman villa near Tivoli in 1774, as well as statues by important ancient Greek or Roman sculptors. The centerpiece is the Belvedere Torso, revered by Michelangelo and other Renaissance men.[16]
  • Sala degli Animali: So named because of the many ancient statues of animals.
 
Tourists in the Pinacoteca Vaticana

Museo ChiaramontiEdit

This museum was founded in the early 19th century by Pope Pius VII, whose surname before his election as pope was Chiaramonti. The museum consists of a large arched gallery in which are exhibited several statues, sarcophagi and friezes. The New Wing, Braccio Nuovo, built by Raffaele Stern, houses statues including the Augustus of Prima Porta, the Doryphoros, and The River Nile. The Galeria Lapidaria forms part of the Museo Chiaramonti, and contains over 3,000 stone tablets and inscriptions. It is accessible only with special permission, usually for the purpose of academic study.

Museo Gregoriano EtruscoEdit

Founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836, this museum has eight galleries and houses important Etruscan pieces, coming from archaeological excavations.[17] The pieces include: vases, sarcophagus, bronzes and the Guglielmi Collection.

Museo Gregoriano EgizianoEdit

This museum houses a large collection of artifacts from Ancient Egypt.[18] Such material includes papyruses, the Grassi Collection, animal mummies, and reproductions of the Book of the Dead.[19]

HistoryEdit

The Museo Gregoriano Egiziano was inaugurated on 2 February 1839 to commemorate the anniversary of Gregory XVI's accession to the papacy. The creation of the Museo Gregoriano Egiziano was particularly close to the pope's heart as he believed the understanding of ancient Egyptian civilisation was vital in terms of its scientific importance as well as its value in understanding the Old Testament. This feeling was expressed in a paper by the museum's first curator, the physiologist and Barnabite, Father Luigi Maria Ungarelli.[15]

 
Statue of the Nile recumbent 1st-2nd Century AD, from Rome Museo Gregoriano Egiziano

Vatican Historical MuseumEdit

The Vatican Historical Museum (Italian: Museo storico vaticano) was founded in 1973 at the behest of Pope Paul VI,[20] and was initially hosted in environments under the Square Garden. In 1987, it moved to the main floor of the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran where it opened in March 1991.

The Vatican Historical Museum has a unique collection of portraits of the Popes from the 16th century to date, the memorable items of the Papal Military Corps of the 16–17th centuries and old religious paraphernalia related to rituals of the papacy. Also on display on the lower floor are the papamobili (Popemobiles); carriages and motorcars of Popes and Cardinals, including the first cars used by Popes.[21]

Highlights from the Painting CollectionEdit

Other Highlights in the MuseumEdit

VisitorsEdit

Nearly 6 million people visited the Vatican Museums in 2013. This is three times the figure of 30 years ago.[22]

On the last Sunday of each month, the Vatican Museum is open to the public for free. It is popular and common for people to wait in line for many hours. The other days of the week you can use the online ticket office to purchase an individual ticket or group tour ticket, either of which will enable you to bypass the ticket line completely. This image is a panoramic view of one small stretch of the entire queue in April 2007, which continues for some distance in both directions beyond view.

See alsoEdit

 
Former entrance (now an exit) to the Vatican Museums, Vatican City

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Top 100 Art Museum Attendance, The Art Newspaper, 2014. Retrieved on 13 July 2014.
  2. ^ Troszczynska, Katarzyna (1 January 2017). "To ona rządzi w Watykanie. Kim jest Barbara Jatta?" [Who is Barbara Jatta? She is the director of the Vatican] (in Polish). Virtual Poland. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  3. ^ "Meet Antonio Paolucci". Divento. Retrieved 2016-12-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ Jatta, Barbara (16 October 2016). "The Vatican Museums: transformation of an organisation" (PDF). Vatican Museums. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Bianchini, Riccardo (30 August 2017). "Vatican Museums - Rome". Inexhibit. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "Conferenza Stampa di presentazione del nuovo sito web dei Musei Vaticani., 23.01.2017" [Press Conference Presentation of the New Vatican Museum Website, 23.01.2017] (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  7. ^   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Christian Museums". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  8. ^ McMahon, Barbara (10 October 2006). "Ancient Roman treasures found under Vatican car park". The Guardian. Manchester. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Glatz, Carol (20 December 2016). "Pope names first woman to head Vatican Museums". The Catholic Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  10. ^ Rykner, Didier (7 December 2007). "Antonio Paolucci, the new Director of the Vatican Museums". The Art Tribune. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  11. ^ "Pinacoteca". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "The Vatican Museums". Vatican City State. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  13. ^ Saddington, D.B. (2011). "Classes: the Evolution of the Roman Imperial Fleets Plate 12.2 on p. 204". In Erdkamp, Paul. A Companion to the Roman Army. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 201–217. ISBN 978-1-4051-2153-8. 
  14. ^ Coarelli, Filippo (1987). I Santuari del Lazio in età repubblicana [The Sanctuaries of Lazio in the Republican age] (in Italian). Carocci. pp. 35–84. (Subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ a b Bertoldi, Susanna (2011). The Vatican Museum: Discover the history, the works of art, the collections. Vatican City: Sillabe. pp. 46, 96. ISBN 978-88-8271-210-5. 
  16. ^ Montebello, Philippe De; Kathleen Howard (1983). "Sala delle Muse". The Vatican: Spirit and Art of Christian Rome. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 178–180. ISBN 978-08-70993480. 
  17. ^ "Museo Gregoriano Etrusco". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  18. ^ "Gregorian Egyptian Museum". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  19. ^ "Monuments exhibited in Room II of the Egyptian Museum". Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Guide to the Vatican Museums and City. Musei Vaticani. 1986. ISBN 978-88-86921-11-4. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Museo Storico Vaticano (San Giovanni)". Roma Capitale. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  22. ^ Tully, Shawn (14 August 2014). "This Pope Means Business". Fortune. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit