Let's count. It turns out that the Vatican occupies the first place in the world in the number of works of art per unit area (or, if you like, per number of inhabitants). Of course, statistics are not very appropriate when it comes to the Beautiful, but still, you see, it’s impressive.
At the root of what is known today as Vatican Museumsstood Pope Julius II (1503-1513). Being a great lover of art and a well-known philanthropist, he, like his predecessors, invited famous artists of his time to Rome. Raphael painted murals in the halls of the Papal Palace, now known as Raphael Stanzas. Michelangelo first painted the vault of the Sistine Chapel, which had previously been decorated with a picture of the starry sky, and more than two decades later, with another pope, he created the composition “The Last Judgment” on the altar wall.
But the beginning of the systematic gathering and creation of museums in the Vatican in their modern sense was laid in the second half of the 18th century by Pope Clement XIV and Pius VI. At the same time, the Belvedere Palace was reconstructed, which housed the Museum of Ancient Art, named after its founders "Pio Clementino." Pius VI also collected paintings, and from his collection, which consisted of more than a hundred paintings, the Vatican Pinacoteca later began.
In 1797, according to the Treaty of Tolentine with Napoleon, part of the works of art collected in the Vatican went to France and was transferred to Paris (it was generally Napoleon's style to replenish the collections of French museums at all. This is how the most famous exhibit, Mona Lisa, appeared in the Louvre) .
But after the fall of the emperor, most of the masterpieces taken away returned to Italy. By the way, this could not have happened if it were not for Antonio Canova, the largest sculptor of that time and the keeper of the Vatican art collections. For the help in returning the works of art to him, the son of a stonecutter, was awarded the title of Marquis. At the request of Pope Pius VII, Chiaramonti Canova set up another museum in the Vatican - Roman sculpture from the collection of the pontiff: statues and busts, including copies from Greek originals. The exposition was opened in 1822 in a purpose-built building and became known as the Chiaramonti Museum.
In 1837, the Gregorian Etruscan Museum was formed, named after Pope Gregory XVI. Its exposition presents unique items found during excavations of necropolises in South Etruria. And two years later, the Gregorian Museum of Egyptian Art also appeared.
In 1908, solemnly opened Vatican Pinacoteca, which after some time, in 1932, moved to a new building, built for her by architect Luca Beltrami. In this art collection, only paintings are presented, mostly by Italian artists, written on scenes from the Sacred History.
In the XX century, other museums were opened in the Vatican, including modern religious art (doesn’t it sound very intriguing? And there, by the way, are the works of Van Gogh, Dali, Matisse, Rodin, Picasso ...), a historical museum where those who wish can get acquainted with a series of portraits of popes - let's not forget, we are still in the center of the Catholic world. But one cannot say that the Vatican Museums is a continuous exposition on the theme “Religion and Art”. There is a gallery of ancient geographic maps, striking in its detail, an exposition of carriages and cars on which popes moved.
It should be noted that the Vatican Museums keep up to date and in terms of using the achievements of scientific and technological progress will give one hundred points ahead of many other modern museums. And some of the services provided are worth telling about them separately. Here, for example, guided tours for the blind are conducted. At first they were given the opportunity to touch the sculptures by touch. Now, in the Pinakothek, special relief panels have appeared next to some paintings. Touching them with fingers, blind visitors can get an idea of the work of great masters. Such excursions include detailed audio commentaries and carefully selected musical accompaniment.