The Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, addresses the academic community at the annual Keely Vatican // The Observer conference
The University’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies held its annual Keely Vatican conference on Wednesday. The Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, spoke at the event in a conference entitled “The Vatican Museums: Prospects for the Future”.
Jatta’s lecture covered the newly restored works of art by Renaissance painter Raphael and the management of the Vatican Museums during the pandemic.
Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins gave an opening address to introduce Jatta, who was appointed director of the Vatican Museums by Pope Francis in 2016. Jatta oversees a team of hundreds of curators, conservators and others museum professionals, Jenkins said.
Jatta began his lecture by talking about the mission of the Vatican Museums.
“The mission of the Vatican Museums is to make known, preserve and share the extraordinary heritage of culture, history, beauty and faith that the Roman Pontiffs have collected and preserved for centuries,” said Jatta.
Jatta described the importance of Raphael to the Vatican.
“Raphael, a universal artist, provided the supreme model of beauty to Western purity and civilization,” Jatta said. “To fully understand Raphael, you have to come to the Vatican.”
The Vatican Museums are the bearers of Raphael’s most beautiful and important painting cycles, Jatta said. Raphael was involved in the conservation and restoration of antiquity, which museums continue to do today.
“We see Raphael as the person who started the design for the conservation, restoration and preservation of our heritage,” Jatta said.
Managing the museum has been difficult during the pandemic, according to Jatta.
“We were closed for about three months and when we reopened in June 2020 we decided to reopen on Raphael’s name and image,” Jatta said. “We wanted to positively celebrate the 500th anniversary of his death in 1520, or the year ‘Sanzio’.”
The year Sanzio involved new restorations from many works of art, including the altar “The Coronation of the Virgin Mary”, the painting “Leo X and Raphael in the Sistine Chapel”, the courtyard of the Bramante and the Constantine Hall, which has been under restoration since 2014. The Constantine Hall depicts the life of Constantine, who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire, on its four walls. Raphael was involved in the initial sketchches paintings in the Constantine room, but died before the room was completed.
Jatta went on to speak of rethinking the future of the Vatican Museums in light of the current pandemic.
“We have to rethink and restart in a different way, but we’re sure we have to keep going,” she said.
The number of visitors has declined due to the pandemic by nearly 80%, Jatta said, but there has been a change in attendance at the Vatican Museums. Before the pandemic, most visitors to the Vatican were foreigners, now more than half are Italians.
Jatta is optimistic about the Vatican Museum’s ability to bounce back once the pandemic is over.
“It’s a complex issue, but we’re going to start over and get over it,” she said. “Same as things change and as the number of exhibitions is low, we are still working on our mission to present, preserve and share the heritage of culture, history, beauty and faith. ”
In the question-and-answer session, Jatta answered a question about how she sees the connection between beauty and the Catholic Church.
“Pope Francis explains how to use the heritage of beauty to bring people into the faith,” Jatta said. “At present, the use of virtual tours and images of the Vatican has increased from 200 to 300%, but I am convinced that a genuine tour of our collections and being alone with sincere works of art can do happen beauty. the soul of visitors.
Jatta concludes the event by referring to Pope Francis’ address to the Holy See’s ambassadors in 2020.
“He evokes the Raphael years and uses Raphael as a model of the time of harmony between art, history and faith united in perfect harmony,” she said. “I was very happy that he was aware of the importance of Raphael and of universal harmony.”