Faith

Vatican Art Gets a New Look

Technology connects faith and inspiration

VATICAN CITY (RNS) – The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums has released a smartphone app to help culture enthusiasts learn about the works owned by the Holy See — and as a novel way of encouraging art lovers to help fund restoration.

The free English-language Patrum app showcases a selection of works at the Vatican Museums, featuring everything from an Etruscan tomb to 13th-century Chinese scrolls. The brief descriptions are accompanied by other articles detailing daily life at the Vatican Museums.

App users are invited to join the conversation through the comment and chat sections.

A Resurrection scene painted by the Renaissance master Pinturicchio was restored to reveal a small depiction of naked men with feathered headdresses who appear to be dancing. A man on horseback is also visible. Photo courtesy Vatican Museums

Art lovers can also tailor their own profiles by picking out their favorite works, allowing them to receive specific updates and chat with others who express interest in the same pieces.

While there are other apps that serve as virtual tour guides to Vatican treasures, that is not Patrum’s intent; its layout does not correspond to the museums’ vast network of corridors.

The app highlights profiles of patrons and encourages others to make donations. The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums is an international nonprofit that supports restoration projects and education about the Vatican’s museum collection.

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Funding goals for specific restoration projects are indicated next to the images and descriptions. A new display for the vestments of Pope Clement VII will cost $191,750, for example, while a new laser tool has a $49,500 price tag.

This article originally appeared in Religion News Service.

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