The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums is a 501c(3) interfaith group that is committed to the restoration, preservation and increase in artistic patrimony of the collections and buildings of the Vatican Museums, while furthering the understanding and knowledge of its members of these works of art through lectures, meetings and visits to the Vatican.
The Patrons help the Vatican Museums in:
- Spreading knowledge of the specific cultural and spiritual goals of the Vatican Museums as well as the various Vatican offices and basilicas in Rome and the collections they hold
- Supporting the multiple activities of the Vatican Museums and promoting restoration of other works of art for the Holy See under Museum Direction authority
- Promoting the acquisition of new works which complement the existing collections
- Supporting future expansions of the Museums
The works displayed in the Vatican Museums cover more than four thousand years of civilization. One can begin with the Egyptians and continue with the Romans and the Renaissance, arriving at contemporary art. Within the museums which occupy much of the Vatican Palace one can encounter one of the greatest concentrations of masterpieces in the world.
In 1506 Pope Julius II, pursuing the ideals of the Renaissance, began to display his collection of ancient works of art, such as the Laocoön and the Apollo of the Belvedere. He invited artists of the time to view them in what was called the Little courtyard of the Belvedere – what we now know as the Octagonal Courtyard. The collections were increased over the centuries, many of which were gifts presented to the Popes and invaluable items related to the work of the Church. Some of the works, such as those found in the Sistine Chapel and the Rafael Rooms were created for a specific purpose or monument.
The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was founded in the early 1980’s to help support artistic conservation projects, donate equipment for restoration laboratories, and assist in the restructuring of the museums. For more than 25 years Patrons from throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe have shown their support and concern through the conservation of the Vatican patrimony of art which stands as the most unique collection in the world.