Vatican Museums and Galleries

Vatican Museums and Galleries

Institutions and papal palaces in Vatican City housing the art collections of the popes since the beginning of the 15th century. Among the many separate museums are the 18th-century Pio-Clementino Museum, which exhibits the collection of Classical sculpture that originated in 1503–13 with Julius II; the exhibition rooms in the Vatican Library; and the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican collections are most famous for their Classical statues (including Apollo Belvedere, Belvedere Torso, and Laocoön) but also contain important examples of Egyptian and early Christian art. The Pinacoteca (“Picture Gallery”), founded by Pius VI in 1797, contains Italian religious paintings and Russian and Byzantine art. In 1956 a modern-art collection was begun with secular works by such artists as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. The Vatican collections are among the largest and most important in the world.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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