Barbara Jatta was born in Rome on 6 October 1962, has been married to Fabio Midulla since July 1988 and has three children: Marco, Fabiola and Giorgio.

She obtained a degree in Letters, with a thesis on the History of drawing, engraving and graphics, in 1986 from the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, and concluded a three-year specialist course in History of Art at the same institution in 1991. She undertook several specialist internships in England, Portugal and the United States.
From 1981 to 1996 she collaborated with the National Institute for Graphic Design, working first as a restorer of graphic materials and then on the cataloguing of the Institute’s portfolios of drawings, engravings, woodcuts and lithographs.
From the 1990s to the present day she has taught at various institutions and on specialist courses.
From 1994 to 2016 she run the course on the History of techniques and graphic arts at the Faculty of Letters at the “Suor Orsola Benincasa” University of Naples, where since 2014 she has also served as a member of the managing board of the Pagliara Foundation.
From 1996 to 2016 she was the director of the Cabinet of Prints at the Vatican Apostolic Library, where she was also a member of the Exhibitions, Accessions, Acquisitions, Publishing and Cataloguing commissions.
On 8 September 2010 she was appointed by the Holy Father Benedict XVI as Curator of Prints at the Vatican Apostolic Library.
In 2005 she was co-opted into the Gruppo dei Romanisti.
From 2010 to 2016 she was a full member of the International Advisory Committee of Keepers of Public Collections of Graphic Art, the international association of Directors of Cabinets of drawings and prints.
Since 2010 she has served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the journal Grafica d’Arte.
She has collaborated in and personally organised several exhibitions and has participated in numerous publishing initiatives in the field of the history of graphics and art.
Since 2018, she is member of the Scientific Council of the Louvre Museum.
Since 2019, she is member of the Bizot Group, the Committee of the Directors of the main Museums in the World.
In 2019, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella has appointed her the Order of the Star of Italy.
Since 2020, she is member of the International Advisory Board of the Hermitage Museum.
In 2020, His Majesty the King of Sweden has appointed her Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star.
In 2021, she was appointed as Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Since 2022, she is member of the Administrative Council of the Giuseppe Toniolo Institute of Higher Education - Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
On 22 May 2022, she was awarded an honorary degree by Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States).
On 8 March 2023, the “Pietro Vannucci” Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia awarded her the title of Honorary Academician.
On 22 March 2023, by Decree of the Minister of Culture of the Italian Republic, she was appointed as a member of the Committee in charge of the National Edition of the works of Antonio Canova.
On 20 May 2023, she was awarded the Cherasco International Prize – 22nd Edition (Art History category).
On 15 June 2023, she was proclaimed the winner of the Marisa Bellisario Award – 35th Edition (Culture category).
On 6 July 2023, the President of the Hellenic Republic awarded her the title of Grand Commander of the Order of Beneficence.

After being appointed on 15 June 2016, as Deputy Director of the Vatican Museums, from 1 January 2017 she was called by Pope Francis to guide the papal collections in the role of Director of the Vatican Museums.