Vatican Museums

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Vatican Museums
Musei Vaticani
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Sculptures above the exits of museums
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Location of the Vatican Museums within Vatican City
Established1506 (1506)
Location Vatican City
Coordinates 41°54′23″N12°27′16″E / 41.90639°N 12.45444°E / 41.90639; 12.45444 Coordinates: 41°54′23″N12°27′16″E / 41.90639°N 12.45444°E / 41.90639; 12.45444
Type Art museum
Visitors6,427,277 (2017) [1]
Director Barbara Jatta [2]
Website Official website
The Vatican Museums, north of St. Peter's Basilica Vatican City map EN.png
The Vatican Museums, north of St. Peter's Basilica

The Vatican Museums (Italian : Musei Vaticani; Latin : Musea Vaticana) are Christian 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 several of the most renowned Roman 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]

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Art museum Building or space for the exhibition of art

An art museum or art gallery is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or have restrictions in place. Although primarily concerned with visual art, art galleries are often used as a venue for other cultural exchanges and artistic activities, such as performance arts, music concerts, or poetry readings. Art museums also frequently host themed temporary exhibitions which often include items on loan from other collections.

Contents

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 2017, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 4th most visited art museum in the world. [6] [7] It is one of the largest museums in the world.

Pope Julius II pope from 1503 to 1513

Pope Julius II, born Giuliano della Rovere, was head of the Roman Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1503 to 1513. Nicknamed the Warrior Pope or the Fearsome Pope, he chose his papal name not in honor of Pope Julius I but in emulation of Julius Caesar. One of the most powerful and influential popes, Julius II was the central figure of the High Renaissance and left a significant mark in world history.

Sistine Chapel Chapel in the Apostolic Palace

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today, it is the site of the papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescos that decorate the interior, most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

Sistine Chapel ceiling painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the Sistine Chapel, the large papal chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV, for whom the chapel is named. It was painted at the commission of Pope Julius II. The chapel is the location for papal conclaves and many other important services.

There are 54 galleries, or sale, in total,[ citation needed ] with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum.

History

The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased in the 16th century: 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.

<i>Laocoön and His Sons</i> sculpture

The statue of Laocoön and His Sons, also called the Laocoön Group, has been one of the most famous ancient sculptures ever since it was excavated in Rome in 1506 and placed on public display in the Vatican, where it remains. It is very likely the same statue praised in the highest terms by the main Roman writer on art, Pliny the Elder. The figures are near life-size and the group is a little over 2 m in height, showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents.

Basilica Building used as a place of Christian worship

The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. Originally, the word was used to refer to an ancient Roman public building, where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions. It usually had the door at one end and a slightly raised platform and an apse at the other, where the magistrate or other officials were seated. The basilica was centrally located in every Roman town, usually adjacent to the main forum. Subsequently, the basilica was not built near a forum but adjacent to a palace and was known as a "palace basilica".

Giuliano da Sangallo

Giuliano da Sangallo was an Italian sculptor, architect and military engineer active during the Italian Renaissance. He is known primarily for being the favored architect of Lorenzo de' Medici, his patron. In this role, Giuliano designed a villa for Lorenzo as well as a monastery for Augustinians and a church where a miracle was said to have taken place. Additionally, Giuliano was commissioned to build multiple structures for Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X. Leon Battista Alberti and Filippo Brunelleschi heavily influenced Sangallo and in turn, he influenced other important Renaissance figures such as Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, his brother Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, and his sons, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Francesco da Sangallo.

Benedict XIV founded the Museum Christianum, and some of the Vatican collections formed the Lateran Museum, which Pius IX founded by decree in 1854. [8]

The Lateran Museum was a museum founded by the Popes and housed in the Lateran Palace, adjacent to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. It ceased to exist in 1970.

The Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary in October 2006 by permanently opening the excavations of a Vatican Hill necropolis to the public. [9]

Vatican Hill hill in Rome that is the location of St. Peters Basilica

Vatican Hill is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome, that also gave the name of Vatican City. It is the location of St. Peter's Basilica.

On 1 January 2017, Barbara Jatta became the Director of the Vatican Museums, replacing Antonio Paolucci who had been director since 2007. [10] [11]

Pinacoteca Vaticana

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. [12] The museum's paintings include:

Collection of Modern Religious Art

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. [13]

Sculpture museums

The group of museums includes several sculpture museums surrounding the Cortile del Belvedere. These are the Gregoriano Profano Museum, with classical sculpture, and others as below:

Pio-Clementino Museum

The Prima Porta Augustus Statue-Augustus.jpg
The Prima Porta Augustus
A Roman naval bireme depicted in a relief from the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia in Praeneste (Palestrina), constructed c. 120 BC; exhibited in the Pio-Clementino Museum of the Vatican. D473-bireme romaine-Liv2-ch10.png
A Roman naval bireme depicted in a relief from the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia in Praeneste (Palestrina), constructed c. 120 BC; exhibited in the Pio-Clementino Museum 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. [16]

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:

Tourists in the Pinacoteca Vaticana Room XII (17th century) of the Pinacoteca Vaticana.jpg
Tourists in the Pinacoteca Vaticana

Chiaramonti Museum

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. It is in the Classical style and has a wide arched roof with skylights. The colour scheme is blue-grey and white with a polychrome marble floor. The walls of each side of the gallery have a row of large niches in which stand marble statues. Between the niches are plinths supporting smaller portrait sculptures. The Galeria Lapidaria forms part of the Chiaramonti Museum, and contains over 3,000 stone tablets and inscriptions. It is accessible only with special permission, usually for the purpose of academic study.

Gregoriano Etrusco Museum

Founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836, this museum has eight galleries and houses important Etruscan pieces, coming from archaeological excavations. [18] The pieces include: vases, sarcophagus, bronzes and the Guglielmi Collection.

Gregoriano Egiziano Museum

This museum houses a large collection of artifacts from Ancient Egypt. [19] Such material includes papyruses, the Grassi Collection, animal mummies, and reproductions of the Book of the Dead . [20]

The Gregoriano Egiziano Museum was inaugurated on 2 February 1839 to commemorate the anniversary of Gregory XVI's accession to the papacy. The creation of the Gregoriano Egiziano Museum 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. [16]

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

Vatican Historical Museum

The Vatican Historical Museum (Italian : Museo storico vaticano) was founded in 1973 at the behest of Pope Paul VI, [21] 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. [22]

Highlights from the Painting Collection

Other highlights in the museum

Gallery of Maps Vatican. Galery IMG 4451.jpg
Gallery of Maps
Bramante Staircase; spiral stairs of the Vatican Museums, designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932 Vatican Museums Spiral Staircase 2012.jpg
Bramante Staircase; spiral stairs of the Vatican Museums, designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932

Visitors

The Museums had 6,427,277 visitors in 2017, making them the fourth-most-visited art museum in the world. [1]

Vatican Museum Queue - April 2007.jpg
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 tickets are available online or in-person. This image is a panoramic view of one small stretch of the entire queue on Sunday 29 April 2007, which continues for some distance in both directions beyond view.
Former entrance (now an exit) to the Vatican Museums, Vatican City Vatican Museums entrance.jpg
Former entrance (now an exit) to the Vatican Museums, Vatican City

See also

Related Research Articles

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Apostolic Palace official residence of the Pope in Vatican City

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Doria Pamphilj Gallery Art museum, Historic site in Rome, Italy

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<i>Apollo Belvedere</i> sculpture

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Cortile del Belvedere

The Cortile del Belvedere, was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome. Designed by Donato Bramante from 1505 onward, its concept and details reverberated in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western Europe for centuries. Conceived as a single enclosed space, the long Belvedere court connected the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere in a series of terraces connected by stairs, and was contained on its sides by narrow wings.

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Belvedere Torso Sculpture by Apollonios von Athen

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Colonna Venus

The Colonna Venus is an ancient sculpture, a Roman marble copy of the lost Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles, conserved in the Museo Pio-Clementino as a part of the Vatican Museums' collections. It is now the best-known and perhaps most faithful Roman copy of Praxiteles' original.

Hermes (Museo Pio-Clementino) sculpture in the Museo Pio-Clementino

The Hermes of the Museo Pio-Clementino is an ancient Roman sculpture, part of the Vatican collections, Rome. It was long admired as the Belvedere Antinous, named from its prominent placement in the Cortile del Belvedere. It is now inventory number 907 in the Museo Pio-Clementino.

Barberini Hera

The Barberini Hera or Barberini Juno is a Roman sculpture of Hera or Juno, copied from a Greek original. Excavated in Rome in the late 16th century, it is preserved in the Museo Pio-Clementino.

This is an index of Vatican City-related topics.

Sleeping Ariadne

The Sleeping Ariadne, housed in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, is a Roman Hadrianic copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of the Pergamene school of the 2nd century BCE, and is one of the most renowned sculptures of Antiquity. The reclining figure in a chiton bound under her breasts half lies, half sits, her extended legs crossed at the calves, her head pillowed on her left arm, her right thrown over her head. Other Roman copies of this model exist: one, the "Wilton House Ariadne", is substantially unrestored, while another, the "Medici Ariadne" found in Rome, has been "seriously reworked in modern times", according to Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway. Two surviving statuettes attest to a Roman trade in reductions of this familiar figure. A variant Sleeping Ariadne is in the Prado Museum, Madrid. A later Roman variant found in the Villa Borghese gardens, Rome, is at the Louvre Museum.

Tommaso Maria Conca (1734–1822), was an Italian painter and draftsman, active mostly in Rome.

Antonio Paolucci Italian art historian

Antonio Paolucci is an Italian art historian and curator. In 2007 he was appointed director of the Vatican Museums by Pope Benedict XVI, a post he held until 2017 when he was replaced by his former deputy, Barbara Jatta. Throughout his career Paolucci has worked also in Florence, Venice, Verona, Mantua and other Italian cities in national art and cultural institutions. He has written many books and articles on art history and made television appearances on a variety of programs to explain and promote art. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work.

References

  1. 1 2 The Art Newspaper Review, April 2018
  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. Archived from the original on 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  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. Top 100 Art Museum Attendance, The Art Newspaper , 2014. Retrieved on 13 July 2014.
  7. "Museums and gallery visitors figure for 2017" . Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  8. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Christian Museums"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  9. McMahon, Barbara (10 October 2006). "Ancient Roman treasures found under Vatican car park". The Guardian . Manchester. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  10. Glatz, Carol (20 December 2016). "Pope names first woman to head Vatican Museums". The Catholic Herald . Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  11. Rykner, Didier (7 December 2007). "Antonio Paolucci, the new Director of the Vatican Museums". The Art Tribune. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  12. "Pinacoteca". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  13. "The Vatican Museums". Vatican City State. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  14. Saddington, D.B. (2011). "Classes: the Evolution of the Roman Imperial Fleets Plate 12.2 on p. 204". In Erdkamp, Paul (ed.). A Companion to the Roman Army. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 201–217. ISBN   978-1-4051-2153-8.
  15. Coarelli, Filippo (1987). I Santuari del Lazio in età repubblicana [The Sanctuaries of Lazio in the Republican age] (in Italian). Carocci. pp. 35–84.
  16. 1 2 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.
  17. 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.
  18. "Museo Gregoriano Etrusco". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  19. "Gregorian Egyptian Museum". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  20. "Monuments exhibited in Room II of the Egyptian Museum". Archived from the original on 5 July 2011.
  21. Guide to the Vatican Museums and City. Musei Vaticani. 1986. ISBN   978-88-86921-11-4 . Retrieved 9 May 2013.
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Further reading