Collection of Modern Religious Art, Vatican Museums

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Collection of Modern Religious Art, Vatican Museums
Musei Vaticani, Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna
Lightmatter vaticanmuseum.jpg
LocationVatican City
CuratorMario Ferrazza

The Collection of Modern Religious Art of the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani, Collezione Arte Religiosa Moderna) is a collection of paintings, graphic art and sculptures. It occupies 55 rooms: the Borgia Apartment (apartment of Pope Alexander VI) on the first floor of the Apostolic Palace, the two floors of the Salette Borgia, a series of rooms below the Sistine Chapel, and a series of rooms on the ground floor.


Vincent van Gogh, Pietà, after Delacroix (first version), 1889. Oil on canvas, 41,5 x 34 cm, Vatican Collection of Modern Religious Art

The collection consists of almost 800 works by 250 international artists including: Francis Bacon, Giacomo Balla, Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann, Émile Bernard, Bernard Buffet, Alice Lok Cahana, Marc Chagall, Eduardo Chillida, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Maurice Denis, Otto Dix, Paul Gauguin, Renato Guttuso, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Manessier, Giacomo Manzù, Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon, Auguste Rodin, Georges Rouault, Maurice Utrillo, and Vincent van Gogh. The majority of these works of art were donated by artists and collectors to the Holy See.[1]

The prehistory of the Collection of Modern Religious Art begun with the homily of Pope Paul VI during his encounter with artists in the Sistine Chapel on May 7, 1964.[2]

Pope Paul VI inaugurated the Collection of Modern Religious Art in 1973.[3] Mario Ferrazza has been responsible for the collection since 1973.

Sale of art[edit]

In response to demands by activists that the Vatican should sell its artistic artifacts and give them to the poor, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes asserted that the Church has the duty to conserve the works of art in the name of the Italian state and cannot sell them.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ralf van Bühren 2008, pp. 319-323, fig. 18
  2. ^ Homily of Pope Paul VI at the “Mass of the Artists” in the Sistine Chapel on May 7, 1964 [1]
  3. ^ Speech of Pope Paul VI on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Collection of Modern Religious Art in the Vatican Museums on June 23, 1973 [2]
  4. ^ "Pope Cannot Exchange Vatican Treasure for Food - ZENIT - English". ZENIT - English. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2018-05-07.


  • Ralf van Bühren: Kunst und Kirche im 20. Jahrhundert. Die Rezeption des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Konziliengeschichte, Reihe B: Untersuchungen). Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh 2008 (ISBN 978-3-506-76388-4)
  • Francesco Buranelli: Art and Faith in the Vatican Museums. The artistic Collections of the Popes, spiritual Treasure of Mankind, in: „Images of Salvation“, Pomezia 2002, pp. 63–71
  • Mario Ferrazza (Ed.): Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, presentation by Francesco Buranelli, Vatican City 2000

Coordinates: 41°54′12″N 12°27′18″E / 41.9033°N 12.4550°E / 41.9033; 12.4550