Today, Monday 18 May, marks one hundred years since the birth of Pope John Paul II. A special anniversary that falls in a unique moment of health crisis, but which also coincides with the end of the suspension of religious celebrations, and with the much-awaited reopening to the faithful of the Vatican Basilica.
On the centenary of his birth, the Vatican Museums wish to honour the figure of the Pontiff Saint, evoking his words during the visit to the Pontifical Collections on 7 February 2000, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new entrance to the Museums:
When, at the end of the 18th century, Pope Clement XIV and Pope Pius VI founded the Vatican Museums in the modern sense of the term, visitors were a very restricted élite. Today, thousands come every day from every social and cultural class and from every part of the world. One can truly say that the Museums, at the cultural level, are one of the most significant doors that the Holy See opens to the world.
Hence the value, not only practical but symbolic, of a more "capacious" entrance, in other words, one that is more welcoming and expresses the Church's renewed desire to dialogue with humanity through art and culture, making available to everyone the patrimony entrusted to her by history [...] The partnership between the Church and artists has always been "a source of mutual spiritual enrichment" which "has been a great boon for an understanding of man, of the authentic image and truth of the person".