January 20, 2012
Let's All Visit the Vatican's Pagan Museum
Louis Ruprecht, Religion Dispatches
What inspired you to write Winckelmann and the Vatican’s First Profane Museum?
This book was actually born out of what I thought was a fairly simple question. When I was in Rome for the first time on an NEH seminar, in the summer of 2000, I paid my first long visit to the Vatican Museums. I was surprised to read that something they called “the Profane Museum” had opened inside the Apostolic Palace in 1761. It was just one sentence in an otherwise copious description of the history of the Vatican Museums, so I was intrigued by that detail-less detail.