Barbara Jatta

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Barbara Jatta
Barbara Jatta.jpg
Jatta in Mexico in 2018
Born (1962-10-06) October 6, 1962 (age 60)
Academic background
Alma materSapienza University of Rome
Academic work
DisciplineArt history
InstitutionsVatican Library
Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples
Vatican Museum

Barbara Jatta (born 6 October 1962) is an Italian art historian who has been the director of the Vatican Museums since June 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Jatta has joked that she was born among the smell of solvents.[1] Her mother was a painter and restorer, and her sister a restorer.[2] She often visited her grandparents on Via Giulia in Rome, or at Fregene on the outskirts of the city, where her grandmother, Assia Busiri Vici, a portrait painter, would paint her. Her grandfather Andrea was an architect. Despite her family background, she only determined on a career in art history when she was living in an artists commune in Rome and went with one of the artists to an art history lesson.[3]

She studied literature at the University of Rome (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"), completing her thesis, The History of Drawing, Engraving and Graphics, in 1986.[4] She later went on to earn degrees in Archive Administration and Art History.[5] After her studies in Italy, she studied in England, Portugal, and the United States.[6] Since 1994 she has taught at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples.[7]

Vatican career[edit]

In 1996 she joined and led the prints section of the Vatican Library. She became the vice-director of the Vatican Museums under Antonio Paolucci in June 2016.[5] On 20 December 2016, Pope Francis appointed her the director of the Vatican Museums,[5] effective 1 January 2017. Jatta became the first female director of the Vatican Museums.[8] She is responsible for artworks that includes the iconic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican museums earns more than $300m with profits of $40m from visitors to their museums.[9] Jatta has recognised the work done by her predecessors. She says that she will eliminate the unsightly queue of visitors who stand to await entry. She will encourage visitors to enjoy the lesser known sections of the museum which should reduce crowding of the Sistine Chapel. She planned to utilize the "new media" to both publicize and educate. All this must be done, she said, while "paying special attention to the ‘Vatican tradition’."[10] In March 2017, Jatta presided over the opening of a show at the Vatican Museums for the first time: Dilectissimo fratri Caesario Symmachus». From Arles to Rome, the relics of St. Caesarius, treasure of Paleo-Christian Gaul.[11]

In March 2018, Jatta attended meetings in Rome that marked the UN's International Day of Women and she represented the Vatican at a conference sponsored by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the first time the Vatican had participated in a meeting sponsored by the CSW.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1988 Jatta has been married to Fabio Midulla, a medical educator; they have three children.[13]


  1. ^ Conti, Paolo (23 December 2016). "Barbara Jatta: "Aspetto il Papa in visita ai Musei Vaticani"". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  2. ^ Jatta, Barbara (20 December 2018). "'Beauty can lead to faith' – an interview with the director of the Vatican Museums". Catholic Herald (Interview). Interviewed by Desmond O'Grady. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  3. ^ Jatta, Barbara. ""Io, prima donna capo dei Musei Vaticani cerco la diplomazia dell'arte con la Cina"". La Stampa (Interview) (in Italian). Interviewed by Michela Tamburrino. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Barbara Jatta". Restauratori Senza Frontiere (in Italian). Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Glatz, Carol (20 December 2016). "Pope names first woman to head Vatican Museums". Catholic Herald. Archived from the original on 16 July 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Barbara Jatta, una donna alla guida dei Musei vaticani". La Stampa (in Italian). 2 July 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Barbara Jatta Appointed to Direct Vatican Museums". Zenit. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Meet Barbara Jatta, the First Woman Director of the Vatican Museums". Vogue. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  9. ^ Rocca, Francis (20 December 2016). "Pope Francis Names New Female Director of Vatican Museums". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  10. ^ Jatta, Barbara (13 October 2016). "The Vatican Museums: transformation of an organisation" (PDF). Musei Vaticani. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  11. ^ Giacometti, Veronica (28 March 2017). "Ai Musei Vaticani le reliquie di San Cesareo, tesoro della Gallia paleocristiana". ACI Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  12. ^ Giangravè, Claire (15 March 2019). "Vatican participates for first time at UN women's leadership event". Crux. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  13. ^ "The director Barbara Jatta". Vatican Museums. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

External links[edit]