Barbara Jatta was born in Rome on 6 October 1962, has been married to Fabio Midulla since July 1988 and has three children: Marco, Fabiola, and Giorgio.
She obtained a degree in Letters, with a thesis on the History of drawing, engraving and graphics, in 1986 from the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, and concluded a three-year specialist course in History of Art at the same institution in 1991. She undertook several specialist internships in England, Portugal and the United States.
From 1981 to 1996 she collaborated with the National Institute for Graphic Design, working first as a restorer of graphic materials and then on the cataloging of the Institute’s portfolios of drawings, engravings, woodcuts, and lithographs. From the 1990s to the present day she has taught at various institutions and on specialist courses. Since 1994 she has run the course on the History of techniques and graphic arts at the Faculty of Letters at the “Suor Orsola Benincasa” University of Naples, where since 2014 she has also served as a member of the managing board of the Pagliara Foundation.Since 1996 she has been the director of the Cabinet of Prints at the Vatican Apostolic Library, where she is also a member of the Exhibitions, Accessions, Acquisitions, Publishing and Cataloguing commissions. On 8 September 2010, she was appointed by the Holy Father Benedict XVI as Curator of Prints at the Vatican Apostolic Library. In 2005 she was co-opted into the Gruppo dei Romanisti.She became a full member of the International Advisory Committee of Keepers of Public Collections of Graphic Art, the international association of Directors of Cabinets of drawings and prints. Since 2010 she has served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the journal Grafica d’Arte. She has collaborated in and personally organized several exhibitions and has participated in numerous publishing initiatives in the field of the history of graphics and art.After being appointed on 15 June 2016, as Deputy Director of the Vatican Museums, from 1 January 2017 she was called by Pope Francis to guide the papal collections in the role of Director of the Vatican Museums.
Greetings from Rome where today I officially take the helm as the International Director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
Since my arrival in Rome July 14th, I have had seven weeks to “shadow” Father Daniel Hennessey both here in the Vatican, as well as on a brief trip to the United States which included meetings with the Chapter leaders ofDC and NY as well as with Msgr. Terry Hogan and Lorna Richardson. Here in the Vatican, I am becoming a “recognizable figure’for the Swiss Guards and Gendarme and Vatican Museums Staff. It seems the only one left for me to meet is the Pope Francis!
Ever since meeting Bill Wilson and a group of Patrons in the early 90’s when I was a seminarian in Rome, I have been impressed by this distinguished group of individuals. And now, after walking the museum halls these past two months, I continually see these words at the base of a work of art: “this restoration was made possible by the generosity of the Patrons of …..”! Friends, I am truly honored and awed to now be officially a part of the Patrons of the Arts, even if I have had the grace to mix with you on various occasions in the past. You should also be proud to be members of a unique Vatican association that is soon to reach its 35th year of service to promote and preserve this great patrimony of humanity housed in the Vatican Museums.
Although I am still dedicating much thought and prayer as to what I believe I can personally offer all of you at the service of this organization, three words come to mind and heart.
The first is stability. I know changes always can make us uneasy, even if it can bring good things. And the change at the helm of leadership is no exception. Additionally, we will also be changing our Vatican location as we move our offices closer to the Museum’s administration offices which are much nearer to the main entrance. While we face these changes, many things remain that provide us with stability. First of all, the excellent staff that I have been gifted which so many of you know, such as Sara Savoldelio and Romina Cornetti among others here in Rome, as well as Msgr. Terry Hogan and Loma Richardson in the U.S.. Stability is also provided by my own previous experience working in the Vatican at the Pontifical Council for the Laity, where I headed up the “Church and Sport” office for eight years. Additionally, the dedication and passion of all Patrons to promote and to preserve the beauty of art as an enduring spiritual legacy provide us continuity as well. In order to be poised for future and current growth, we need to have a stable and strong foundation. In light of this, I want to recognize all that Fr Daniel has done in his tenure to bring stability by institutionalizing our PAVM Fellowship program in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors we have each week as well as take measures to bolster our technological savvy to keep up with these new demands.
The other word that I would like to mark my tenure is collaboration. From what I gather, the collaboration of our office with the Museum leadership team is really starting to blossom, as was seen in the enthusiastic presence of Dr. Jatta at the leaders meeting in Phoenix. I would like to continue to build up transparency, trust, and teamwork among all: with our office staff, with the leadership of the Vatican museums, with each of the Patron chapters, and even among the chapters and their membership. We will be facing some extraordinary restoration projects in the upcoming years that will require teamwork and collaboration among all of us.
The last word is momentum. In my almost 18 years as a priest, one thing I lament seeing is a waste of energy and resources due to trying to continually reinvent the wheel. Yes, we need to be innovative, but also rooted in real experience and best practices. It is my hope that I can dismay the feeling that we are starting all over again from scratch. Rather, I hope to build on the legacy of the past and the current momentum of this past year. In speaking with Dr. Jatta, Fr. Daniel and others present at the leaders meeting in Phoenix, they perceive a new momentum, an air of excitement and a forward-thinking spirit among the Chapter leaders and the patrons in general Of course, not all of our problems are resolved, and each chapter will have its particular challenges to face, but we have a legacy and a new momentum that I want to build upon and bolster. I know there were some concrete commitments that came out of the March Chapter Leaders meeting that I will also commit myself to in order to keep moving the ball forward.
I humbly ask for your prayers and patience as I try to hit the ground running. I promise to offer you my best as I try to be at your service so that all of us can gìve our best in fulfilling our unique mìssion of promoting art and beauty as an enduring spiritual legacy.
Roman Copy After a Greek Bronze c.450-440 BC Marble
Early Third Century A.D. Marble
On August 27, 1982, Father Miles O’Brien Riley officially announced the creation of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. This would mark both the beginning of the California Chapter as well as the organization as a whole. Starting off as a committee of sixty members whose goal was to preserve the arts through the ages. What follows are some of our most proud preservation.
The Fire in the Borgo
Raphael Raffaello Sanzio, Urbino 1483- Rome 1520 Fresco
Silenus Cradling the Child Dionysus
Roman copy After a Greek original 300 BC Marble
The Resurrection of Lazarus
Girolamo Muziano 1555 Oil on canvas
Pietro Di Cristoforo Vannucci 1508 Fresco
The Vision of Saint Romuald
Andrea Sacchi 1631 Oil on canvas
Apoxyomenos After a Greek Bronze Original c.320-310 B.C. Marble
Roman Copy The Late fourth century B.C. Marble
Sacrophagus with Polychrome Relief
Etruscan Late Fift-Early Fourth Century B.C.
Staircase Donato Bramante
Begun c. 1507 Villa Belvedere
Crucifixion with Mary
Andrea Da Firenze c. 1370-1377 Tempera on wood
Paul Gauguin c 1892 Painted wood sculpture
The Deceased Christ and the Adoration of the Infant Jesus
Francescuccio Ghissi 1373 Tempera and gold on wood
Madonna and Child between Saints Severino and Dominic
Bernardino Di Mariotto Dello Stagno 1512 Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood
Sarcophagus of a Young Girl
Rome C. A. D. 270-280 Marble
Monstrance with Saint Michael
Second Half of the eighteenth century, Gilded bronze, silver gilded silver precious stone inlays
Monstrance with Grain
Northern Italian 1750 Silver, partly gilded, and glass 1750
Reliquary of Saint Gregory Barbarigo
Angelo Scarabello 1762 Gilded bronze and silver