The Vatican Museums Photo Library
The Vatican Museums Photo Library

The Vatican Museums Photo Library

Technology and conservation in the service of knowledge

Thursday 25 November 2021 | 04.30 p.m.
Vatican Museums Conference Hall – live streaming

The next appointment with Thursdays in the Museums on 25 November will be rich and full of interventions dedicated to the still little-known historical photographic heritage of the Vatican Museums, which from today will be freely available to view online on the official Vatican Museums website (Online Catalogue).
A new and important window that opens free of charge and remotely - accessible from every corner of the world - on a collection of the Pope's Museums that is to all effects an integral part of the museum collection.

The focus of the meeting will be the presentation of the complex and multi-faceted project of securing, restoring, archiving and digitising the photographic glass plates that make up the "heart" of the Institution's vast photographic collection, which in turn includes both the archives relating to the collections of the Museums and the numerous historical shots depicting views, landscapes, city palaces and monuments of Rome, as well as other Italian and foreign cities. The Vatican's photographic collection is constantly being enriched by new donations, such as the very recent donation of the Andrea Busiri Vici Archive – collected by the esteemed Roman architect (1903-1989) and art historian - which contains more than 10,000 items dedicated to Roman painting from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth century.

The conference will also be an opportunity to announce the new and challenging milestone reached in the realisation of that "digital architecture" placed at the service of the Museums and the valorisation of its treasures through the intelligent, innovative and inclusive use of technology. This is another fundamental step in the broader project - promoted and launched at the end of 2016 - of the digital archiving and networking of the catalogue of the entire patrimony of the Museums. The meeting will be addressed by the Director Barbara Jatta, Luca Della Giovampaola, Head of the Technological Support Office, Paola Di Giammaria, Head of the Photo Library, Francesca Martusciello, Scientific Officer at the Photo Library, and Chiara Fornaciari da Passano, Head of the Paper Restoration Laboratory.

To crown the whole operation - and as a "postponed" symbolic closure of the Year of Raphael in the Vatican on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the Urbino painter's death - the Vatican Museums are inaugurating their first digital exhibition by paying an original photographic tribute to the artist thanks to a virtual journey through images and words with more than sixty historical archive photos: "Raffaello in Vaticano. La memoria fotografica del divin pittore tra fine ’800 e primo ’900” (Raphael in the Vatican. The photographic memory of the “divin pittore” between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century).
The exhibition, which further enriches the digital cultural heritage of the Museums, may be accessed free of charge on the Vatican Museums website and will be available from 25 November in the Online Catalogue section.