The Pinacoteca is one of the last branches added to the Vatican Museums. In 1817, after Napoleon’s fall, many paintings returned from Paris to the Church. Since then, the painting collection expanded with new donations, commissions and acquisitions.
Today, the gallery holds works by some of the greatest Italian artist throughout the centuries.
Giotto, the formal inventor of perspective, is the author of the XIV century altarpiece that once decorated the Basilica.
Frescoes by Melozzo da Forlì, depicting ethereal angels playing musical instruments, were diligently removed from their original wall, and can be admired today in the dim light.
An entire room is dedicated to Raphael’s works. Three paintings show the advancement of his style, with his last work, the Transfiguration, appearing as the spiritual testament of the artist.
The Pinacoteca hosts the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in Rome, St. Gerome. And Caravaggio’s Deposition, in strong contrast with the formality of the previous work, is a suitable close that will make you understand the evolution of Italian and European painting.