Pope Francis has chosen the first woman to lead the Vatican Museums

Barbara Jatta has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new director of the Vatican Museums. Jatta, an Italian art historian and graphic arts expert, will be the first woman in the post. She is pictured in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 28. (CNS Photo)

Pope Francis has chosen, for the first time, a woman to head the Vatican Museums.

Barbara Jatta, 54, is an Italian art historian and graphic arts expert, who had been serving as vice-director of the museums since June.

Advertisement

The Vatican announced the appointment on Dec. 20.

She will begin her new role as director of the museums Jan. 1, 2017, replacing 77-year-old Antonio Paolucci, who had been director since 2007.

Each year millions of people visit the Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel and more than 50 different galleries. It is one of the largest museums in the world with 200,000 objects in its collections—20,000 of which are on public display—27,000 square feet of frescoes, and 4.35 miles of exhibit space.

Jatta started working at the Vatican in 1996 when she was hired to head the Vatican Library's departments of prints. In 2010, she was named curator of the artwork in the prints department at the library.

She has degrees in literature, archive administration and art history, specializing in the history of drawing, engraving and graphic arts. She also taught history of graphic arts at the "Suor Orsola Benincasa" University in Naples. She is married and the mother of three children.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Art / Vatican

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Indigenous people walk past Pope Francis after presenting offertory gifts during the pope's celebration of Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis appealed to the Mapuche, who have suffered “great injustices,” to totally reject violence “which can make a just cause turn into a lie.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2018
Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in 2007 in Tirana, Albania (CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).
She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort.
Cameron Dezen HammonJanuary 17, 2018
Pope Francis dove head-first into Chile's sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago.
Pope Francis meets with priests, religious and seminarians at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Francis focused for the second time today during his visit to Chile on the abuse scandal that has rocked the Chilean church. “I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors, and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil,” he said.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 16, 2018