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A special art director

03 December 2022

A special art director has chosen the images for this issue from the collections of the Vatican Museums. Her name is Barbara Jatta, the director of the Vatican Museums since 2017. She is the first woman to hold this position and was appointed by Pope Francis.  The choice of the works does not proceed on the basis of the “weight” of each one in the history of art; rather, it is part of the broader emotional gallery of an art historian and museologist, who walks amongst their beauty every day, and who hopes that each visitor entering the Vatican Museums, physically or only through the electronic pages of the site, “will be pervaded by that sense of privilege of being within that Beauty that leads to Faith”.

On the cover of this month’s edition, Beato Angelico’s “The Madonna and Child between St Dominic and St Catherine of Alexandria”. The painting is a tempera on panel and dates from around 1435, which due to its small size - 24.4 x 18.7 cm - was certainly intended for private devotion. The painting depicts the Virgin Mary playing with the Child, which was a widespread iconographic image in Tuscany from the end of the 13th century. The Madonna is holding a rose in her hand, which is a symbol of wisdom, while St Dominic, the founder of the Order to which Angelico belonged, and St Catherine of Alexandria are kneeling.