To present, preserve and share that extraordinary legacy of culture, history, and beauty that the Roman Pontiffs have collected and preserved for centuries: this is the mission of the Vatican Museums today.
The Vatican Museums are to be declined in the plural as they are a complex of different collections, all extraordinarily important. Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman, Christian, and epigraphic, paintings of several centuries and the great Renaissance of Raphael and Michelangelo in the “Rooms” and the Sistine Chapel. And then there are the decorative arts, the ethnological collections, the historical collections, the carriages and the papal berlins, up to modern and contemporary art.
A dynamic museum where tradition and innovation find a perfect synthesis, able to render concrete what the Roman Church has pursued for centuries in her cultural institutions.
Tradition, to be dated back to Pope Julius II, to that 1506 which saw the creation of the “Courtyard of the Statues”, the most celebrated in Rome at the time, in the heart of the Vatican Belvedere. Then, the great museum era of the eighteenth century, passing through Canova and reaching, with Pope Pius XI in the aftermath of the Lateran Treaty of 1929, an organic and effective institutional order for the Museums, made accessible to the world via the portal opened in the Vatican Walls. Tradition that is protection, restoration, conservation and enhancement of the collections through study, research, teaching, international projects, conferences and exhibitions.
Innovation, which is indispensable today for the functioning of an Institution that receives millions of visitors each year, and where thousands of people, employees and collaborators, work every day. Innovation that enables the Museums collections to be appreciated in a dynamic and current way, and which through this new web site enables the most remote places of our world to be reached.
It is my hope that every visitor who enters the Vatican Museums – virtually, through these electronic pages, but even more so physically – is pervaded by that sense of privilege at finding oneself inside the Beauty that leads to Faith, and that this digital tool may also be a vehicle for knowledge, harmony and spirituality.