Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download or CD-ROM. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
This subject will be treated under the following heads:
II. Architectural History of the Vatican Palace;
III. Description of the Palace;
IV. Description of the Gardens;
V. The Chapels of the Vatican;
VI. The Palace as a Place of Residence;
VII. The Palace as a Treasury of Art;
VIII. The Palace as a Scientific Institute;
IX. The State-Halls of the Vatican;
X. The State Staircases of the Vatican;
XI. The Administrative Boards of the Vatican;
XII. The Juridical and Hygienic Boards of the Vatican;
XIII. The Policing of the Vatican;
XIV. The Vatican as a Business Centre;
XV. The Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana;
XVI. The Legal Position of the Vatican.
Inasmuch as by this disposition of the subject analogous things may be treated together regardless of their various locations in the Palace, this has an advantage over others which follow a topographical and historical method.
The territory on the right bank of the Tiber between Monte Mario and Gianicolo (Janiculum) was known to antiquity as the Ager Vaticanus, and, owing to its marshy character, the low-lying portion of this district enjoyed an ill repute. The origin of the name Vaticanus is uncertain; some claim that the name comes from a vanished Etruscan town called Vaticum. This district did not belong to ancient Rome, nor was it included within the city walls built by Emperor Aurelian. In the imperial gardens situated in this section was the Circus of Nero. At the foot of the Vatican Hill lay the ancient Basilica of St. Peter. By extensive purchases of land the medieval popes acquired possession of the whole hill, thus preparing the way for building activity. Communication with the city was established by the Pons Ælius, which led directly to the mausoleum of Hadrian. Between 848 and 852 Leo IV surrounded the whole settlement with a wall, which included it within the city boundaries. Until the pontificate of Sixtus V this section of Rome remained a private papal possession and was entrusted to a special administration. Sixtus, however, placed it under the jurisdiction of the urban authorities as the fourteenth region.
It is certain that Pope Symmachus (498-514) built a residence to the right and left of St. Peter's and immediately contiguous to it. There was probably a former residence, since, from the very beginning, the popes must have found a house of accommodation necessary in the vicinity of so prominent a basilica as St. Peter's. By the end of the thirteenth century the building activity of Eugene III, Alexander III, and Innocent III had developed the residence of Symmachus into a palatium which lay between the portico of St. Peter's and the Vatican Hill. Nicholas III began building on the Vatican Hill a palace of extraordinary dimensions, which was completed by his immediate successors. He also secured land for the Vatican Gardens. The group of buildings then erected correspond more or less with the ancient portions of the present palace which extend around the Cortile del Maresciallo and the eastern, southern, and western sides of the Cortile del Papagallo. These buildings were scarcely finished or fitted when the popes moved to Avignon and from 1305 to 1377 no pope resided permanently in the Vatican Palace. Urban V spent a short time in Rome, and Gregory XI died there. When Urban V resolved to return to Rome, the Lateran Palace having been destroyed by fire, the ordinary papal residence was fixed at the Vatican. The apartments, roofs, gardens, and chapels of the Vatican Palace had to be entirely overhauled, so grievous had been the decay and ruin into which the buildings had fallen within sixty years (see Kirsch, "Die Rüchkehr der Päpste Urban V. u. Gregor. XI.", Paderborn, 1908). The funds devoted to the repairs of the Vatican during the residence at Avignon had been entirely inadequate.
Urban VI (1378) and his successors restored to the palace a degree of comfort as a place of residence, so that, when Martin V came from Constance to Rome (28 September, 1420), little remained to be undertaken except some rearrangement of the apartments. Nicholas V erected buildings on the east and north sides of the Cortile del Papagallo, on the spot where the Loggia of Raphael and the Appartamento Borgia and the Stanze stand today. Alexander added to the Palace of Nicholas V the Torre Borgia, which bears his name. Pius II and Paul II beautified the buildings of the south aide, and Innocent VIII effected such alterations in the old palace in the portico of St. Peter's at the foot of the hill that it was henceforth known as the Palazzo di Innocenzo VIII. Directly south, in the direction of Sant' Angelo, Nicholas V erected a mighty bastion (called the Torrione di Niccolò V), running down from the summit of the hill to Sant' Angelo. The space mounting the hill in a northerly direction was enclosed by a wall and served as a garden (viridarium, vigna). At a distance of about 700 metres from the palace, Innocent VIII erected a fairly large villa, which may be seen today, and which was remodelled by Clement XIV and Pius VI into one of the most stately portions of the museum of sculpture. Sixtus IV, who dwelt in the apartments of the Cortile del Papagallo, made important alterations in the rooms of the ground floor to accommodate there the Bibliotheca Palatina.
The wing to the south (Galleria delle inscrizioni and Museo Chiaramonti) was built by Julius II; the northern wing (picture-gallery and library), by Pius IV. A little later both wings were fully developed into their present form. The large Loggia (il gran nicchione) near the villa of Innocent VIII was erected by Pius IV. Pius V erected the apartments to the north of the Torre Borgia, and built the three chapels, situated one over the other, in the western portion of the northern wing. One of these chapels is attached to the library (that on the ground floor) and one to the picture-gallery on the second floor. Pius V and his successor Gregory XIII extended the palace by the construction of the wing running southwards to the Torrione. The present papal palace was begun by Sixtus V and completed by his successors, Urban VII, Innocent XI, and Clement VIII.
The buildings extending along the southern slope of the hill to Piazza S. Pietro, occupied today by the maestro di camera and the majordomo, were erected by Julius III, and completed under Pius IX with the construction of the magnificent Scala Pia. The buildings branching off from the northern wing toward the gardens, in the vicinity of the chapels of Pius V, were built by Paul V. Sixtus V established connection between the two longitudinal wings of the palace by erecting in the middle the Salone Sistino, in which he housed the library. A second transverse building, constructed by Pius VII in the eastern court, contains the Braccio Nuovo, one section of the museum of sculpture. All the other museum buildings at the eastern end of the palace were erected or remodelled by Pius VI and Pius VII. The casino constructed by Leo XIII on one of the towers of Leo IV in the gardens now serves as the Vatican Observatory. This broad sketch of the architectural history of the Vatican and the following description of the various edifices will afford a fairly exact idea of the gradual growth of this vast collection of buildings.
The Vatican Palace is situated on the eastern sections of the Vatican Hill. Behind it rises the summit of the hill with the gardens; at the highest points may still be seen the only remains of the Leonine Wall with its two mighty towers. The palace is approached by the road leading around St. Peter's and by the Scala Pia, which extends from the Portone di Bronzo to the Court of St. Damasus. The covered way which leads from the Cortile di Belvedere to the Cortile della Sentinella and thence to the exit door situated at the back of the palace is used only for official purposes. From the Portone di Bronzo downwards run the powerful buttresses of the palace around the eastern and northern sides of the hill as far as the Galleria Lapidaria (Corridoio delle Iscrizioni). These buttresses are interrupted by the Torrione, which was formerly of great strategic importance and now serves as a magazine. At the rear of the Cortile del Forno is the entrance to the Nicchione and the museum buildings, which are the most elevated portions of the palace.
From the cupola of St. Peter's may be seen the whole collection of buildings included under the name of Vatican Palace, a long stretch of edifices with many courts, ending in a row of smaller connected buildings before which stands a great loggia, known as the Nicchione. To the right and left of the loggia and at right angles to it are two narrow buildings, which are connected transversely by the Braccio Nuovo at a distance of 328 feet from the loggia. These four buildings enclose the Giardino della Pigna, so called because in the loggia stands a gigantic pine-cone of bronze, preserved from old St. Peter's. Except the few unsightly buildings lying immediately to the left, all the buildings behind the loggia are given over to the museum especially to sculptures and to the Egyptian and Etruscan museums. In the longitudinal wing to the left are accommodated a portion of the library, the Galleria dei Candelabri, and Raphael's tapestries; the right wing forms the Museo Chiaramonti, while the transverse building, or Braccio Nuovo, also belongs to the museum of sculpture. After the Giardino della Pigna succeeds the Cortile della Stamperia, a narrow building deriving its name from the fact that it served as the seat of the Vatican Press (founded by Sixtus V) until 1909. At the back of this court stands the Braccio Nuovo; to the left lie the library, the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, and the Torre dei Quattro Venti; to the right the library and the Galleria Lapidaria; and in the transverse building in front the Library. The third huge court, Cortile di Belvedere, lies on a much lower level in an exact line with the other two. At the rear and to the left is the library, to the right the Galleria Lapidaria, and in the transverse wing in front the Appartemento Borgia, the Stanze of Raphael, and the Museum of Modern Paintings.
Between these long stretches of the palaces with the three courts and the Basilica of St. Peter lie a large number of courts, surrounded in a somewhat irregular fashion by a group of buildings of which we shall mention the most important. The Sistine Chapel to the extreme left adjoins the Cortile della Sentinella, and the Cortile del Portoncino; opposite to this ends the left wing of the library. To the right from the chapel is the Sala, Regia, beyond which, extending towards St. Peter's, is the Cappella Paolina. Running somewhat obliquely from the Sala Regia is the Sala Ducale, which, with the Stanze di Raffaello and the Appartamento Borgia, encloses the Cortile del Papagallo on the north and south sides. The eastern side of this court is bordered by the group of buildings containing the Camere dei Paramenti (with the Loggie di Giovanni da Udine extending in front) and the Cappella di Niccolo V (one story higher), situated before which is the Loggie di Raffaello. The above-mentioned loggie form the western side of the Cortile di San Damaso; the northern side is also composed of loggie, behind which, on the second floor, is the Sala Matilde and on the third a portion of the old picture-gallery. The eastern side of the loggie stands in front of that portion of the palace occupied by the pope and the secretary of state. There are some lesser courts on the east side.
The exterior of the palace presents an imposing ensemble. Architectonic decorativeness is found nowhere. Extreme simplicity characterizes the exterior walls. According as necessity dictated, æsthetic effect being little considered, new buildings and annexes were erected, roofs raised, external passages laid out, lofty halls divided horizontally and pierced for the upper-half of windows which disfigure the lines of the buildings. Those who seek for uniformity find much to censure in the palace, but the general effect, viewed from an historical standpoint, is most pleasing. The Cortile di San Damaso, the view towards St. Peter's of graceful arcades opening out before the staircase leading to the Sala Regia by the Portal of Paul II, the lofty entrance door to the library of Sixtus IV, in the Cortile del Papagallo, the Cortili del Portoncino and della Sentinella are all magnificent. The Portone della Sentinella leads to the Cortile di Belvedere, decorated with a beautiful fountain. The view to the right from the windows and galleries of the Appartemento Borgia and the Stanze di Raffaello is admirable. An added story replaced the turret of the Palace of Nicholas V; the adjacent Torre Borgia has lost its ancient windows, its roof thereby losing the character of a tower. Above the transverse wing is the Torre dei Quattro Venti, where was the Specola Gregoriana, the observatory dating from the days of Gregory XIII, with its paintings by the Zuccari.
The Giardino della Pigna, lying to the north, is beautifully laid out. In the centre of the court has stood since 1886, mounted on a marble column, a bronze statue of St. Peter, in commemoration of the Vatican Council of 1870; numerous fragments of statues and reliefs are artistically placed standing or flat along the walls. The quarters of the Swiss Guards on the east side consist of two narrow parallel buildings, which, with the Sistine Palace and the Torrione di Niccolò V, form two courts. The inner court is adjacent to the palace, in the other is a gate leading directly to the city by the colonnades. Beyond this gate is the covered passage from the palace to Sant' Angelo, now walled up at the point where it leaves the Vatican territory. A tablet and Inscription and a large coat of arms give evidence that Alexander VI initiated here extensive works of improvement and decoration. In the immediate vicinity of the Torrione di Niccolò V earlier lay the Cavallerizza, the riding ground for the Noble Guard. Between this building and the quarters of the Swiss Guards is another gate leading to the town. The Cavallerizza was entirely reconstructed three years ago to accommodate the Stamperia Segreta (the private press of the Vatican) and the Tipografia Vaticana. On this occasion Pius X introduced extensive reforms in the printing, bringing it to the highest level attained by modern technic. North of the printing offices and parallel to the eastern longitudinal wing of the palace is the huge house which Pius X reconstructed for the married officials and the servants of the palace. It is solidly built, conveniently divided and fitted with the best sanitary requirements.
The palace forms a special parish, the administration of which is entrusted to the Monsignor Sagrista, sacristan of the pope, assisted by the sottosagrista, who has charge of all the vestments and vessels used in the five chapels of the palace. The chaplain of the Swiss Guards attends to the vestments of their chapel. The Cappella Paolina is regarded as the parish church, and is thus one of the churches of Rome where the Forty Hours' Adoration is inaugurated at the beginning of each ecclesiastical year. By the Bull, "Ad sacram ordinis", of 15 October, 1497, the ancient custom of selecting the Prefect of the Apostolic Chapel (the sagrista) from the Augustinian Order was given a legal foundation. The sagrista is Titular Bishop of Porphyreon, assistant at the throne, and domestic prelate, and before 1870 was pastor of the Vatican Palace, of the Quirinal, and of the Lateran. The Quirinal was provisionally attached in 1870 to the parish of SS. Vincenzo ed Anastasio, and in the Lateran the sagrista was represented in parochial affairs by the pastor of the basilica. In addition to other privileges the sagrista has the right of administering Extreme Unction to the dying pope. Since the reign of Pius IV he is an ex-officio member of the Conclave. Although, as a bishop, the sagrista enjoys the use of the rochet, he wears it only in very exceptional cases, always wearing the mozzetta over the manteletta. His appointment is for life, so that he is not affected by a change of pontificate.
Enclosed between the city walls, the zecca (the mint) with the adjacent houses, and the Viale del Museo, lie the Vatican Gardens, or Boscareccio, into which visitors are admitted only with the special permission of the sub-Prefect of the Vatican Palace. They are reached through the museum entrance on the western side of the palace. To the left of the entrance below is the English Garden, in which the palma grande (the tallest palm in Rome) and fine citron and orange trees grow under a protecting roof. At the end of the broad path to the right is a walk, bordered by boxwood trees fifteen to twenty feet high, which leads between oaks and ilex trees up the hill on which stands the Casino of Leo XIII, resting on one of the huge towers of the Leonine Wall (see VATICAN OBSERVATORY). The pavilion, to the right of the Casino, is on a level with the roof of St. Peter's. In this section of the garden vineries have been laid out, and vegetables are cultivated. Before the first Leonine tower a terrace affords a wide view across the Valle dell' Inferno, from whose ancient brick-works half of Rome has been built. To the left of the tower is an oak grove where wild flowers grow. Ancient fragments of marble are strewn everywhere, the paths are kept in entirely rural fashion, so that this small grove forms an especially enchanting portion of the gardens. One of the rough walks leads to the Fontana di Paolo Quinto, which is fed with water from the Lago di Bracciano. The arms of the Borghese proclaims it the work of Paul V. In the immediate vicinity are the barracks of the papal gendarmes entrusted with the guarding of the gardens. A few hundred feet below is the Fontana del Santissimo Sacramento, a fountain so called because in the centre stands a monstrance whose rays are formed by the water; on either side rise three vertical streams of water, which represent the candles. A path bordered by boxwood leads to the court of the Casino of Pius IV, a double building erected by Pirro Ligorio in 1560, with walls decorated with flint mosaic work. Women were there received in audience until they were allowed admission to the papal apartments by Pius IX. Thousands of artistic addresses received by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X have been transferred from the library to this Casino, where they are now preserved (cf. Bouchet, "La Villa Pia des Jardins du Vatican, architecture de Pirro Ligorio", Paris, 1837). The paintings in the Casino are by Baroccio, Federigo Zuccaro, and Santi di Titi. Immediately before the casino opens the subterranean passage which Pius X had constructed so that he might pass with as little inconvenience as possible from the palace to the gardens. The appearance of the surrounding park has been altered by excavations, but the trees have been untouched. The distribution of numerous species of trees and flowering shrubs makes this portion of the gardens very picturesque. The stretch of the gardens to the right of the entrance consists of a thick, magnificent alley of ilex trees, in which some cages may still be seen; these formerly sheltered ibexes and other animals. The view from here towards Monte Mario over the circular fountains, and to the right towards the Prati di Castello with Soracte in the background, is admirable. Scattered around the garden are four other cages for animals, which contained until a few years ago the lions presented to the pope by King Menelik, and also ostriches, gazelles, and a number of species of poultry. All these animals have died, have been given away, or sold, since their maintenance and care demanded too much attention. The Vatican Gardens are the only place in which the pope can take exercise in the open air. (Cf. Friedlander, "Das Kasino Pius des Vierten. Kunstgeschichtliche Forschungen", ed. Royal Prussian Historical Institute, III, Leipzig, 1912; Donovan, "Rome, Ancient and Modern, and its Environs", II, Rome, 1844.)
The Sistine Chapel is the palatine and court chapel, where all papal ceremonies and functions and papal elections are held. It was built between 1473 and 1481 by Giovanni de' Dolci at the commission of Sixtus IV. In length 133 feet and in breadth 46, it has at each side six stained-glass windows, given by the Prince Regent Leopold of Bavaria in 1911. The lower third of the chapel is separated from the rest by beautiful marble barriers, which divide the space reserved for invited visitors on the occasion of great solemnities from that reserved for the pope, the cardinals, and the papal family. On the wall to the right is the box for the singers of the famous Sistine Choir. The marble barriers and the balustrade of the box are by Mino da Fiesole and his assistants.
The rear wall of the chapel is now without a window, being broken only by a small door on the right, which leads to the sacristy of the chapel. Almost the whole of this space is occupied by the painting of the Last Judgment (see MICHELANGELO BUONARROTTI). The frescoes on the side walls were executed between 1481 and 1483 by Florentine and Umbrian masters. On the left side are given, as the prototypes, scenes from the life of Moses, and on the right scenes from the life of Christ beginning in both cases from the high altar and meeting at the entrance door. Perugino, Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Pier di Cosimo, Rosselli, Signorelli, della Gatta, Ghirlandajo, and Salviati were the collaborators in the wonderful cycle of paintings. Fiammingo, Matteo da Lecce, and Diamante are also here immortalized. Some years ago the ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo were thoroughly cleansed by Ludwig Seitz, and all the plasterwork blisters which by falling away threatened to work irremediable damage to the paintings, were again skilfully fastened to the masonry. To lessen the effect on the paintings caused by any great change of temperature, Leo XIII installed in the chapel a system of central heating which prevents the walls from becoming icy cold in winter. (See Steinmann "Die Sixtinische Kapelle", 2 vols. and atlas, Munich, 1900-05.)
The Cappella Paolina, which serves as the parish church of the Vatican, is separated from the Sistine Chapel only by the Sala Regia. It received its name from Paul III, who had it erected in 1540 by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Before 1550 Michelangelo painted two frescoes here, the Conversion of Paul and the Crucifixion of Peter. Other paintings in the chapel are by Lorenzo Sabbatini and Federico Zuccaro. The statues in the background are by P. Bresciano. Before the opening of the conclave the Sacred College assembles in this chapel to attend a sermon in which the members are reminded of their obligation quickly to give to the Church her ablest son as ruler and guide. The cardinals then withdraw to the Sistine Chapel. In the Cappella Paolina are sung daily the conclave Solemn Masses "De Spiritu Sancto", at which all members of the conclave must be present.
While the two above-named chapels are situated on the first floor of the palace, which bounds the Cortile di San Damaso, the Chapel of Nicholas V (chapel of San Lorenzo) lies on the second floor in the immediate vicinity of the Stanze and Loggie of Raphael. Built by Nicholas V, the chapel was adorned (1450-55) by Fra Angelico with frescoes, depicting chiefly scenes from the lives of Sts. Laurence and Stephen. This wonderful series of paintings is Angelico's greatest work.
In the reception rooms of the pope, between the Sala degli Arazzi and the Sala del Trono, lies a smaller room, from which a door leads to the private chapel of the pope, where the Blessed Sacrament is always reserved. Here the pope usually celebrates his Mass, and hither are invited those who are accorded the privilege of receiving Communion from his hand. The lay members of the papal family usually make their Easter Communion in this chapel on the Monday in Holy Week; the prelates of Rome make theirs on Holy Thursday. On both these occasions the pope celebrates. After Mass all are entertained at breakfast in the Sala dei Paramenti, the majordomo representing the pope as host.
On days when a larger number of strangers are admitted to assist at the pope's Mass, the Holy Father uses the Cappella della Sala Matilde, a simple but tastefully decorated chapel which Pius X had erected in the Sala Matilde on the second floor in the middle building.
The Chapel of the Swiss Guards lies at the foot of the papal residence in the immediate vicinity of the Portone di Bronzo and the quarters of the Swiss Guards, and in it the services for the Guards are celebrated by their special chaplain. This Chapel of Sts. Martin and Sebastian dates from the sixteenth century, and has a special charm.
The former Cappelle di San Pio V lay on the southern end of the present halls of the library, the chapels being situated under one another on three floors. The middle chapel on the first floor formerly contained the addresses recently transferred to the Casino of Pius IV. The paintings here are by Giorgio Vasari.
The Vatican Palace was not intended and built as a residence. Only a comparatively small portion of the palace is residential; all the remainder serves the purposes of art and science or is employed for the administration of the official business of the Church and for the management of the palace. The rooms formerly intended specially for residence are today utilized to accommodate collections or as halls of state. Hence, the Vatican can more properly be regarded as a huge museum and a centre of scientific investigation than as a residence. The residential portion of the palace is around the Cortile di San Damaso, and includes also the quarters of the Swiss Guards and of the gendarmes situated at the foot of this section. Of some 1000 rooms in the whole palace about 200 serve as residential apartments for the pope, the secretary of state, the highest court officials, the high officials in close attendance on the pope, and some scientific and administrative officials. This limited number could be increased only with the most costly and extensive alterations. When the temporal dominion of the pope came to an end in 1870, a large number of the minor officials and servants of the Quirinal Palace had to be sustained during the confusion of the time; these latter were temporarily assigned previously unused rooms of the Vatican. Pius X executed the plan of erecting in the immediate vicinity of the Vatican a special large residence for all these families, where they are now accommodated. This practical innovation affords them pleasant and commodious quarters.
In the eastern wing (facing towards Rome) of the residential section the pope occupies two floors. On the upper floor (the third) he resides with his two private secretaries and some servants; on the second floor he works and receives visitors. One suite of rooms receives the morning, and the other the midday and afternoon sun. The second floor includes the reception rooms, which the visitor enters through the wonderful Sala Clementina, where a division of the Swiss Guards keep watch at the entrance to the papal apartments. The next room is the Anticamera Bassa, in which the servants stand, and in which all summoned to an audience lay aside their wraps. An air-trap opens into the Sala dei Gendarmi, so called because two gendarmes in court uniform are there stationed. A covered way leads backwards through the court to the working-room of the pope. The next hall is known as the Sala del Cantone or Sala della Guardia Palatina, as it is a corner room where during the reception a division of the Palatine Guards are drawn up. The eastern suite of rooms begins with the Sala degli Arazzi, in which three huge Gobelin tapestries resented by Louis XV adorn the walls. Between this and the Sala del Trono is a smaller room which serves to accommodate the Noble Guard, and leads to the pope's private chapel. The floor of the throne room is covered with a specially manufactured and costly Spanish carpet presented to Leo XIII. The room is simply fitted, giving a very impressive and restful effect.
Behind the throne room stands the Anticamera Segreta, at the entrance of which a member of the Noble Guard stands. The old and very valuable Gobelin tapestry which covers the floor is practically indestructible, but is tended with great care. In this room wait the majordomo or the maestro di camera and one or more spiritual chamberlains, when audiences are to be given. Here also wait the cardinals and persons of rank and station until their turn comes, while the others summoned to the audience wait in the throne room or in the other above-named halls. Situated on a corner, this room offers a wonderful view of the city and the Campagna to the east, the Piazza S. Pietro and the Janiculum to the south. Two smaller rooms and the Sala del Tronetto lie between the Anticamera Segreta and the pope's library, which is both his working-room and his reception room for current private audiences. Not far from the entrance of the library stands the pope's unpretentious, large writing-desk, beside which are some seats for visitors. In the middle of this large room, which is splendidly lighted by three windows, stands a broad mahogany table several yards long. The library cases run along the four walls, and above them hang twelve exquisite paintings of animals. Other decorations and fittings of the room combine in perfect harmony; it is an ideal working-room.
Over the Anticamera Segreta, the Sala del Tronetto, and the two adjoining rooms is the pope's private chancellery, accessible only by a staircase from the inner vestibule of the library. Here, under the pope's direction, two secretaries with a staff of assistants transact all the unofficial affairs of the pontiff.
Immediately under these working and reception rooms of the pope is the suite of the secretary of state, who under Pius IX and Leo XIII occupied what are now the private rooms of the pope. Leo XIII assigned this suite temporarily to Cardinal Ledochowski, when he came to Rome from the prison of Ostrowo. These neglected rooms were recently renovated by a Spanish ecclesiastic of wealthy family. Here the secretary of state receives twice weekly the diplomats accredited to the Holy See and numerous other visitors. Along the Scala Pia, built and covered by Pius IX, which leads from the Portone di Bronzo to the Court of St. Damasus, lie the extensive apartments of the maestro di camera and the majordomo. The other residents of the palace are the four spiritual chamberlains in immediate attendance, the monsignor sagrista, the maestro del sacro palazzo (a Dominican, theological adviser of the pope and censor of the books printed in Rome), under-secretary of state, prefect of the Vatican Library, household administrator of the Apostolic Palace, other court and administrative officials, and a few servants.
The Vatican contains an abundance of works of art, which are now catalogued in every tourist's guide-book. On the one hand are museums and collections and on the other the interior decoration of the palace. The Vatican treasures of art also include much of scientific importance, which will be treated in the following section. Here belong especially the rich treasures exhibited in the library and various other objects. The Vatican works of art represent in their entirety an irreplaceable treasure, which is not actively at the disposal of the Curia, but passively in their possession, since the repair and maintenance of these objects make great claims on the resources of the Holy See. Those who proclaim the riches of the Curia should know that, though the works of art are worth many hundred millions, they have no market value. The Holy See, notwithstanding its difficult financial position, values too highly its civilizing mission to divest itself of these treasures, which are being constantly increased.
Cosimo Stornaiolo says in one passage: "The attitude of the Church towards the statues of the false gods and similar works of art was proclaimed by the Christian poet Prudentius in the fourth century as follows (Contra Symmachum, 1, 502): 'Let the statues be retained merely as the works of great masters; as such they may constitute the greatest ornament of our native town [Rome] without the misuse of an art which serves the wicked contaminating these memorials.' In accordance with this spirit of the Church, the early Christian emperors issued repeatedly laws against the destroyers of ancient works of art, and medieval Rome saw on all sides in its public squares, in the ruins of the ancient palaces, and in the villas of the neighbourhood numberless statues of gods, emperors, and renowned men. It is true that, during a period of unrestrained barbarism when the popes transferred their residence from Rome to Avignon, works in marble found their way to the lime-kilns; but scarcely were these times past, during which Petrarch declares the Romans had degenerated to a nation of cowherds, than the popes, in accordance with their full conviction that the Church was the first-called protectress and patroness of art, devoted their attention to the preservation of the ancient objects of art. The papal palaces thus possess so great an abundance of masterpieces of all ages for the instruction and enjoyment of both the friends and the enemies of the papacy that, were all the other collections of the world destroyed by some catastrophe, the Vatican collection would suffice for the perpetuation of all æsthetic culture, both pagan and Christian. The popes were not alone the first to establish museums, but they have also by their example spurred all other governments of Europe to imitation, and thereby performed a great service in the refining of artistic taste among all modern nations. For the Vatican museums, in contrast to so many others, were instituted purely from æsthetic, and not from historical considerations." These important remarks apply not alone to the museums, but likewise to all the Vatican collections and scientific institutions. The Vatican museums are: (1) The Museo Pio-Clementino; (2) the Galleria Chiaramonti; (3) the Braccio Nuovo; (4) the Egyptian Museum; (5) the Etruscan Museum.
(1) The Museo Pio-Clementino
The first collection of antiquities in the world was made by Popes Julius II, Leo X, Clement VII, and Paul III in the Belvedere. Of the treasures there collected, most of which were a few decades later (especially by Pius V) given away or removed, only a few of the prominent objects maintain their place in the Vatican today. To these belong, for example, the Torso of Heracles, the Belvedere Apollo, and the Laocoon. Clement XIV's activity in collecting antiquities was continued by Pius VI with such great success that their combined collections, arranged by Ennio Quirino Visconti, were united in one large museum, named for these popes, the Museo Pio-Clementino. It contains eleven separate rooms, filled with celebrated antiquities.
(a) Sala a croce greca. At the expense of half a million lire ($100,000) Pius VI had the two gigantic porphyry sarcophagi of Sts. Helena and Constantia, the mother and daughter of Constantine the Great, repaired and transferred to this museum, built by Simonetti. Conspicuous among the statues is that of the youthful Octavian, one of the very few ancient statues of which the head was never separated from the trunk. Among the few mosaics is the Cnidian Venus, which is esteemed the most perfect copy of the masterpiece of Praxiteles.
(b) Sala della Biga. The masterly restoration of an ancient two-wheeled racing chariot, drawn by two horses, by the sculptor Franzoni has given its name to the beautiful circular room erected by Camporesi. The wheels and one of the horses are new, a fact which only the expert can discern. In this room are also a bearded Bacchus, two discus-throwers, a bearded athlete, sarcophagi, and other works of art.
(c) Galleria dei Candelabri. Under Pius VI the very long Hall of Bramante was closed on this side, and was divided into six compartments by arches resting on Dorian columns of vari-coloured marble. In addition to many vessels of costly marbles, eight magnificent candelabra of white marble, after which this hail is named, are especially conspicuous. The exquisitely fine tracings and arabesques are among the finest examples of this form of art. A Ganymede carried away by an eagle, a local goddess of a town in Antiochia, a Greek runner, and a fighting Persian are the most important among the numerous sculptures. Especially valuable is a sarcophagus with a representation in mezzo-rilievo of the tragedy of the daughters of Niobe. This hail was selected by Leo XIII to immortalize, through Ludwig Seitz, some of the most important acts of his pontificate. In a deeply thoughtful composition the artist represented St. Thomas Aquinas as the teacher of Christian philosophy, the agreement between religion and science, the union of ancient pagan and Christian art, the Rosary and the battle of Lepanto, and Divine grace in its various activities as working in Sts. Clara of Montefalco, Benedict Labre, Laurence of Brindisi, and John Baptist de Rossi, canonized in 1881. Seitz also painted a symbolic representation of four ideas taken from the Encyclicals of Leo XIII: Christian marriage, the praise of the Third Order of St. Francis, the condemnation of Freemasonry, and the agreement between secular and religious authority. This classical cycle of paintings is important (cf. Senes, "Galleria dei Candelabri, affreschi di Ludovico Seitz", Rome, 1891).
(d) Sala rotonda. Built after the model of the Pantheon by Simonetti, this hall contains as its most precious object the bust of the Zeus of Otricoli. Pius IX paid 268,000 lire ($53,600) for the colossal gilt bronze statue of Hercules. The Barberini Hera, as it is called, is an exquisite work of art. The great mosaic in the floor, in the centre of which is a monster porphyry shell, was discovered at Otricoli in 1780.
(e) Sala delle Muse. The eight-cornered hall, which Pius VI commissioned Simonetti to build, was intended to receive the nine Muses under the leadership of Apollo, as well as busts of all those who should have acquired renown in the service of the same. Pius VI here paid brilliant homage to art and science, representing truth with a noble magnanimity against the brutal caricatures of culture of the waning eighteenth century.
(f) Sala degli animali. This room contains the richest collection in the world of (about 150) representations of animals from classical antiquity, many of the works of art being of high importance.
(g) Galleria delle statue. Innocent VIII (1484-92) had a summer-house erected in the vicinity of the Belvedere, and had it adorned with frescoes by Mantegna and Pinturicchio. Clement XIV and Pius VI had this building altered, and transferred thither such important treasures as the Weeping Penelope, the Apollo Sauroktonos, the Amazon from the Villa Mattei, a Greek monumental stele, the Sleeping Ariadne, and the Barberini Candelabra.
(h) Sala dei Busti. In this second division of the former summer-house are over 100 busts of Romans, gods and goddesses, etc.
(i) Gabinetto delle Maschere. The floor mosaic with masques, found in the Villa Hadriana at Tivoli in 1780, gives this third division of the summer-house its name. Worthy of special mention is the renowned Satyr, of rosso antico, and the dancing woman of Pentelic marble from Naples.
(j) Cortile del Belvedere. The former square court belonging to the ancient Belvedere was adorned in 1775 with a pillared hall, and in 1803 the chambered corner halls were converted into little temples. In the first of these stands the unrivalled and celebrated Laocoon group. It was discovered near Sette Sale in 1506, during the reign of Julius II, and was named by Michelangelo the miracle of art. In the second little temple is the admirable Belvedere Apollo, discovered near Grotta Ferrata about 1490. Canova was allowed to exhibit his Perseus and the Two Boxers in the third temple, where, however, they are not seen to advantage. In the fourth temple is the well-known Hermes dating from the fourth century before Christ; formerly this statue was thought to represent Antinous.
(k) Gabinetti del Belvedere. In the three cabinets, or atria, are conspicuous the statue of Meleager, the above-mentioned Torso of Belvedere, and the sarcophagi and inscriptions relating to the Scipio family.
(2) The Galleria Chiaramonti
Thirty-four pilasters indicate the thirty sections into which the Galleria Chiaramonti is divided in the corridor 492 feet long. More than 300 sculptures, mostly of smaller dimensions and of a variety of subjects, are here artistically exhibited. They are chiefly the work of Greek sculptors living in Rome, and are carved after Grecian models. Prominent among the original Greek works are the Daughters of Niobe, a relief in Bœotian limestone, and the head of Neptune.
(3) The Braccio Nuovo
Although many of the halls of the Museo Pio-Clementino, especially those built by Simonetti, viewed from the purely architectonic standpoint, make a very brilliant impression and justly command much admiration, still the Braccio Nuovo is incontestably the crown of the museum buildings. The general impression of absolute perfection and symmetry is effected by the harmonious proportions of the long hall, the method of lighting, and the arrangement of the masterpieces exhibited. This hall was erected by Raphael Stern at the commission of Pius VII, at a cost of 1,500,000 lire ($300,000). The magnificent barrel-vault is decorated with richly gilt cassettes; the cornices, the fourteen antique columns of giallo antico, cipollino, alabaster, and Egyptian granite, the transverse hall equally dividing the whole, the marble floor, all contribute an appropriate setting for the masterpieces. In this museum stand twenty-eight statues in as many niches, while in the transverse hall are fifteen more. Between the niches on marble consoles are twenty-eight busts; others rest on mural consoles; between these and the cornice beautiful bas-reliefs are set in the walls. At the rear of the hall stands the statue of the Athlete (or Apoxyomenus) cleaning himself of sweat and dust with a scraper. This statue, as well as that of the other Athlete (the Doryphorus, or spearsman), are antique copies of the Greek originals of Lysippus and Polycletus. The majestic statue of Augustus haranguing his soldiers bears evident traces of having once been painted. Among the abundance of treasures here exhibited is the colossal recumbent figure of the Nile, on whose body play sixteen children representing the sixteen cubits in the annual rise of the river. (Consult Amelung, "Die Skulpturen des vatikanischen Museum", 2 vols., with charts, Berlin, 1905-08.)
(4) The Egyptian Museum
The collection of Egyptian objects was begun by Pius VII, but the museum was not opened until 1838, during the pontificate of Gregory XVI. The Cavaliere de Fabris superintended the decorations in Egyptian characters, while the Barnabite Father Aloys Ungarelli arranged the objects for exhibition. The basis of the museum was supplied by the collections of Andrea Gaddi and Cardinal Borgia of Velletri, and by the objects of public property distributed throughout the Papal States. Other valuable objects were acquired by purchase. Most of the papyrus manuscripts were brought hither in 1818 by the Franciscan Angelo da Pofi. Although the ten halls full of statues, sarcophagi, mummies, sacred animals, and other things, do not attain the importance of the Egyptian museums in Berlin, Paris, London, Turin, and Hildesheim, the Roman is among the first Egyptian collections of second rank. Particularly notable are the sculptures of the modern period and the monuments (interesting for their style) which were prepared during the reign of Hadrian for his villa near Tivoli. (Consult Marucchi, "Il Museo Egizio Vaticano discritto ed illustrato", Rome, 1899; Idem, "Monumenta papyracea ægyptica", Rome, 1891.)
(5) The Etruscan Museum
This museum is situated over the Egyptian. To Gregory XVI it owes its foundation; to Pius IX, many of its treasures; to Leo XIII, its decoration and systematic arrangement. The excavations made in Western Etruria between 1828 and 1836 furnished the basis of the museum, which contains statues, sarcophagi, bowls, vessels of every kind and shape, mosaics, lamps, and numerous other objects of every description, giving a highly graphic picture of the art of ancient Italy and the customs of the Etruscans. This entirely unique collection is of prime interest. (Consult Nogara, "I Vasi antichi del Museo Etrusco e della Biblioteca dei Palazzo Vaticano", Rome, 1912; Nogara and Pinza, "La tomba Regolini Galassi e gli altri materiali coevi del Museo Gregoriano-Etrusco", Rome, 1912.)
Among the valuable treasures of art, manuscripts, archives, and collections which Napoleon confiscated on his campaigns and conveyed to Paris, were the most prominent art treasures of the Vatican and the churches in the Papal States. When these treasures were brought back from Paris in 1815, Pius VII formed them into a collection, added other paintings, and formed them into a picture-gallery. This (the Vatican Pinacotheca) was first lodged in the Appartamento Borgia, then transferred to the third story of the palace, immediately adjacent to the former suite of the secretary of state. The disadvantages of this situation increased when Pius X entered into personal occupation of the suite of the secretary of State. The rooms were not architecturally fitted for a picture-gallery, and the constant stream of visitors caused annoyance. After long considerations as to convenience and safety from fire, Pius X decided to remove the collection to the rooms on the ground floor of the Vialone del Museo. These rest on stout arches, and in them the papal equipages of ancient and modern times had been kept. To these were added two rooms which were adjacent to the old library of Sixtus IV and had previously been used as a magazine. Louis Seitz, assisted by some other artists and in constant consultation with the sub-Prefect of the Apostolic Palaces, Mgr. Misciatelli, was intrusted with the gigantic task of transferring these priceless treasures and decorating the rooms. Seitz died before the work was finally completed. The artistic spirit shown in the whole plan and decoration of the new pinacotheca is worthy of admiration. The arrangement is perfect, and the effect of the whole will improve with time.
The few masters allowed to foregather in the old picture-gallery were Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico da Fiesole, Guercino, Caravaggio, Crivelli, Garofalo, Bartolomeo Mantegna, Murillo, Francesco Cossa, Perugino, Bonifazio, Domenichino, Titian, Ribera, Pinturicchio, Giulio Romano, Francesco Penni called il Fattore, lo Spagna, Sassoferrato, Niccolò da Foligno, Melozzo da Forli, Valentino Baroccio, Guido Reni, N. Poussin, A. Sacchi, Moretto, Paolo Veronese, and Correggio. Beside Leonardo da Vinci and Fra Angelico, the Venetian School is represented by Crivelli, Titian, and Paolo Veronese. the Bolognese by Domenichino's "Communion of St. Jerome" and Guido Reni's "Crucifixion of St. Peter"; the Lombardic by the "Pietà" of Amerighi da Caravaggio; the French by Pierre Valentin's "Martyrdom of Sts. Processus and Martianus"; and other Schools by various canvasses. Altogether 56 masterpieces had to be transferred from the old to the new gallery. In 1904, when the Greek abbey of Grottaferrata celebrated its ninth centenary with an exhibition of its forgotten treasures, 181 valuable Byzantine paintings were there acquired for the Vatican. To these were added 40 taken from the Lateran and other collections in the Apostolic palaces, making an addition of 221 besides the 56 from the old gallery. All the paintings which were not judged worthy to be exhibited side by side with the masterpieces of the earlier collection have been transferred to a magazine adjoining the gallery, where they may be examined by artists. A very simple opening celebration was held at the end of 1909. In the gallery itself is the marble bust of Pius X, by Seebock, which is the pope's favourite likeness of himself. The light, which enters through the lofty circular windows, is regulated hourly by shades, and the paintings are always excellently illuminated. The large rooms have been divided into sections, so that the distribution of the paintings into separate compartments renders the general effect harmonious. The collection of paintings in the Pinacotheca is priceless in value. (Concerning the origin of the Vatican Pinacotheca consult Platner-Bunsen, "Beschreibung den Stadt Rom", II, 2nd ed., 415; for works on the new Pinacotheca, see the official report, "La Nuova Pinacoteca Vaticana", with chants, Rome, 1909.)
Not so much artistic value, which is comparatively small, as the glory of the Church is seen in the majority of the pictures collected in the small Gallery of Modern Paintings. With few exceptions they are estimable achievements of Roman artists, and are devoted to the glorification of those saints who have been canonized in the second half of the past century. They hang in a single large hall, beside which is accommodated the colossal canvas of Matejko representing the saving of Vienna by John Sobieski in 1683. This unique painting was purchased for Leo XIII in 1884 with a subscription started by a wealthy Pole. In a third hall are exhibited the frescoes of Podesti, among which is conspicuous the great picture (the heads of all the personages are painted from portraits) depicting the promulgation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX. Before this painting stands a magnificent shrine, in which the text of the Bull of Promulgation, translated into many languages is preserved. The shrine was presented to Pius IX by the French clergy in 1878.
On the first floor of the palace, looking towards the north and the Cortile del Belvedere, one may enter from the Loggie of Giovanni da Udine these apartments which Alexander VI had erected in what is called the Old Palace (of Nicholas V). These rooms received their title from Alexander's family name, Borgia. Here on 18 January, 1495, Alexander received King Charles VIII of France and entered into long negotiations with him. Here also Charles V was accommodated, when, a few years after the sack of Rome, he returned victorious from Tunis and was received by the pope as the conqueror of the Turk. Succeeding popes did not occupy this suite, utilizing the Stanze di Raffaello, because there they had better light and air. From many sources it appears that, until the close of the seventeenth century, the Appartamento Borgia was occupied by the cardinal nephews, or, as they were later called, secretaries of state. After the Palace of Sixtus V had been completed under Clement VIII (cf. Colnabrini, "Ruolo degli appartamenti e delle stanze nel Palazzo Vaticano al tempo di Clemente VIII", Rome, 1895), the Stanze di Raffaelo and the apartments of Alexander VI were neglected, and during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they were used only for conclave purposes. About the middle of the eighteenth century the Sale Borgia were used only as a refectory for the lower officials of the palace during Holy Week. During the French occupation of Rome, these rooms suffered much injury from the soldiery, so that immense sums had to be spent by Pius VII for architectural repair. When the Appartamento Borgia was used as the Pinacotheca, the marble cross-beams were removed from the windows, and replaced with iron grating, and everything was done to secure suitable lighting for the works of art. As every endeavour proved unsatisfactory, the paintings were removed in 1821 to the third story, and the pope then established here a museum of statues, known as the Museo Miscellaneo (for a detailed description see Platner-Bunsen, op. cit.; cf. the drawings of Craffonara and Guattani, and also Massi, "Indicazione antiquaria delle Sale Borgia", Rome, 1830).
As the Appartamento Borgia consisted of six rooms, and only the first four were employed for the museum, the remaining two were turned over to the Vatican Library, to which they are adjacent. In the winter of 1838-39 the museum was limited to the first two rooms, and the two which were then vacated were likewise transferred to the library. Finally, Pius IX added also the last two halls to the library, distributing the marble works between the Vatican and the Lateran museums. Having acquired the renowned library of Cardinal Angelo Mai on 8 September, 1854, the pope had this housed in the first two rooms of the Appartamento, closing them to the public. The artistic creations of Pinturicchio which adorn the walls were, however, restored to the admiration of the public when Leo XIII opened the Borgia suite, establishing there the consulting library of printed books by Decree of 20 April, 1889. The ceilings and lunettes, which preserve the paintings of the great Umbrian artist, had suffered little despite the vicissitudes of the Sale Borgia, but the walls and the floor had received serious damage. Louis Seitz maintained, however, that a thorough cleaning and the covering of the damaged places with colour would sufficiently restore the frescoes, so that Pinturicchio's original work remains.
General architectural restoration was successfully undertaken. The doors which had been broken through the walls were closed up, and the former doors reopened. After the removal of the white colouring which covered the walls, extensive traces of the old ornamentation were revealed, and the whole restored in the spirit of the Alexandrine epoch. Plaster blisters which had formed on the paintings were secured in place without the slightest damage to the frescoes. The floor required complete reconstruction. Remnants of the original majolica floor were discovered, and with the aid of these, and special technical studies, a new parquetry for the floor was elaborated in perfect harmony with the remaining fittings of the Borgia suite. The complete fitting of the rooms was not attempted; but the huge walls were beautifully furnished in exquisite taste. In 1897 Leo XIII solemnly opened the Appartamento Borgia, declaring it an integral portion of the Vatican collections which were accessible to the general visitor. Simultaneous with this manifestation of the pope's sympathy with art appeared the following work, dedicated to him: "Gil affreschi del Pinturicchio nell' appartamento Borgia del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, riprodotti in Fototipia e accompagnati da un Commentario di Francesco Ehrle, S.J. prefetto della Biblioteca Vaticana, e del Commendatore Enrico Stevenson, direttore del Museo Numismatico Vaticano" (Rome, 897). When Pius X occupied the former suite of the secretary of state, the Appartamento Borgia was temporarily devoted to the secretariate. The rooms were then beautifully furnished for residence, thus restoring the ensemble they presented in the time of Alexander VI and his successors (cf. Ehrle-Stevenson, pp. 26-27). When a special suite of rooms was later prepared for the secretary of state, the Appartamento Borgia was again opened to the public.
(1) The first of the six rooms, Sala dei Pontefici, was not part of the pope's private apartments, being a public hall in which audiences were given and consistories held. The beautiful stucco decorations harmonize well with the paintings of Giovanni da Udine and Pierin del Vaga, who painted the Zodiac and some representations of stars.
(2) In the second hall, Sala dei Misteri, the mysteries of the life of Christ are depicted. Here are the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Besides the general sketch for the pictures and other decorations in this hall, the lifelike figure of Alexander VI is from Pinturicchio's hand, as are also the figures of the prelates represented in the Assumption. All the rest was painted by his assistants; attempts have been made to prove that these belonged to one of the Italian Schools.
(3) Sala dei Santi is the name given to the third hall, which contains a series of scenes from the lives of Sts. Catherine of Siena, Barbara, Paul and Anthony, and Sebastian. All these glorious frescoes were executed by Pinturicchio himself, as was the beautiful circular picture of the Madonna and the scene of the Visitation.
(4) Grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, music, and astrology, that is the seven liberal arts, were represented by Pinturicchio, with the extensive aid of his assistants, in the fourth hall, Sala delle arti liberali. These paintings have suffered more from dampness than those in the other rooms.
(5-6) The last two rooms, del Credo and delle Sibille, are situated in the Torre Borgia. The decorations in these rooms are not by Pinturicchio and have been injured by overpainting. A Latin inscription records the munificence of Leo XIII, who "restored this dwelling . . . to its pristine dignity and dedicated it in the twentieth year of his pontificate". (Cf. Jesorone, "L'antico Pavimento delle Logge di Raffaello in Vaticano", Naples, 1891; Volpini, "L'appartamento Borgia", Rome, 1887.)
The Stanze di Raffaello are an exact reproduction of the Appartamento, but are situated one floor higher. They thus include four rooms in the Palace of Nicholas V and two in the Torre Borgia, which serve for the Exhibition of Modern Paintings. As explained above, the popes, who once occupied the Appartamento Borgia, later removed one story higher, into the rooms which are known today as the Stanze di Raffaello, because they were painted by Raphael. Julius II desired a comparatively simple pictorial decoration of his suite, and entrusted the task to the painters Piero della Francesca, Luca da Cortona, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Pietro Perugino, and Bramantino da Milano. During the progress of the work the architect Bramante Lazzari of Urbino persuaded the pope to summon his nephew Raphael Sanzio from Florence to assist the others. One of the walls of the third room, the Stanza della Segnatura, was assigned to the young Raphael, who between 1508 and 1511 painted there "Theology" and the "Disputa"; these works so delighted the pope that he entrusted to Raphael the decoration of the entire Stanze. All other paintings were removed with the exception of those in the vault of the fourth room, where Pietro Perugino, Raphael's teacher, had, in four parts, depicted: the adoration of the Blessed Trinity by the Twelve Apostles, the Saviour with Mercy and Justice at his side, the Father enthroned on the rainbow, and the Redeemer between Moses and Jacob. Raphael could not accomplish this task, with his other commissions, unaided. The sketches are all his, but many of the paintings were executed by his assistants and pupils, some after his death in 1520.
(1) The first hall is called the Sala di Costantino. The frescoes were executed after Raphael's death by Giulio Romano, Francesco Penni, and Raffaello dal Colle. The chief incident depicted on the longitudinal wall is the battle of Milvian Bridge, which Constantine the Great fought against Maxentius. The baptism of Constantine, the presentation of Rome to Sylvester I by the emperor, and the latter's address to his troops concerning his dream (In hoc signo vinces) are all important compositions. The smaller pictures and the socle paintings are of a simpler kind. The painting of the ceiling was not finished until the reign of Sixtus V.
(2) The paintings in the second hail, the Stanza d'Eliodoro, are almost exclusively by Raphael. His most important fresco is the "Mass of Bolsena", which represents how a priest, who did not believe in transubstantiation was converted when the Blood ran from the Host after the Consecration. "The Retreat of Attila" represents Leo I (beside whom stand the Apostles Peter and Paul), with the features of Leo X, and the pope's attendants are to some extent contemporary portraits. This is an extremely effective and superbly coloured painting. The light effects in the third fresco "The Deliverance of St. Peter", are wonderful. From the fourth picture, "Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple at Jerusalem" (2 Maccabees 3), the hall has taken its name. The brilliant painting, strength of expression, and harmonious colour effects form the basis of the fame of this masterpiece. The paintings on the ceiling are poorly preserved.
(3) In the Stanza della Segnatura (the supreme court of justice, which sat here under the presidency of the pope) Raphael began his works. On the ceiling are "Theology", "Poetry", "Philosophy", and "Justice". On the walls, under "Theology", is the "Disputa", the fundamental ideas for which were taken, according to the latest theories of Wilpert, from the "Last Judgment" of Pietro Cavallini, at Santa Cecilia in Rome. Wilpert has established doubtful identities of the saints. The name "Disputa", though inappropriate, has clung to the painting. The difficulties presented by the conditions of the hall were splendidly overcome by Raphael in the second picture, "Parnassus". Apollo and the Muses, with Homer, Dante, Virgil, Sappho, Pindar, Horace, and many other personages, are here united in one composition, which breathes forth the gladness and poetic strivings of the Renaissance. In the "School of Athens" all branches of knowledge are represented and powerfully characterized. Plato and Aristotle are the centres of the organically arranged groups; Socrates, Diogenes, Ptolemy, and Zoroaster are also easily recognizable. Other forms are not clearly distinguishable except the portraits of some contemporaries. To the extreme right Raphael has painted himself beside Sodoma. On the wall containing the windows are some smaller paintings and the glorification of canon and civil law. Here again are portraits of contemporaries, especially those of Julius II and Leo X.
(4) In the fourth hall, the Stanza dell' Incendio, Pierin del Vaga has painted Leo III taking the oath of purgation before Charlemagne; Giulio Romano, the victory of Leo III over the Saracens at Ostia; Francesco Penni, the fire in the Borgo, a painting from which the room has taken its name. The crowning of Charlemagne at old St. Peter's is more conventional and superficial in conception. Raphael's sketches for this hall reveal the summit of his artistic development (1517). The ceiling paintings are by Perugino. Numerous smaller works are painted beside and under the chief paintings in the Stanze. The majority of the frescoes still remain in an almost perfect condition, due to the zealous solicitude with which the works are cared for.
Immediately adjacent to the Stanze of Raphael, which begin on the second story of the Loggie of the Court of St. Damasus, lie the well-known Loggie named after the Umbrian master. They were unprotected from all inclemencies of the weather until 1813, when Pius VII erected large windows. The wonderful frescoes were painted in accordance with the sketches of Raphael and under his constant personal supervision, by Giulio Romano, Giovanni da Udine, and other artists in 1517-19. The whole plasterwork is by Giovanni da Udine, who also painted all the ornaments. The long passage is divided by thirteen vaults into as many sections. The frescoes of the ceiling in the vaults, twelve of which contain scenes from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament, are the chief attraction of the Loggie. These quadrilateral, framed paintings, four in each vault, display rich imagination and marvellous beauty of composition, and are among the most characteristic creations of the master. The graceful and charming reliefs, the delicate ornaments, the sitting, standing, hopping, and dancing figures, and the numerous other admirable details make the Loggie an inexhaustible source of the richest inspiration for every artist.
Immediately under the Loggie of Raphael, on the first floor, are the Loggie of Giovanni da Udine. The general scheme for this suite is likewise due to Raphael, but the execution was the independent task of Giovanni. The caps of the vaults are beautifully decorated with leaf and tendril-work, enlivened by animals of all kinds. In the rear of the Loggie, under a magnificent Renaissance portal of great delicacy, dating from the time of Leo X, the marble bust of Giovanni is exhibited. The other portions of the Loggie of the first and second floors were painted in entirely unpretentious fashion under Clement VIII and Alexander VII by Lanfranco, Marco da Faenza, Paul Schor, Consoni, and Mantovani. These are not accessible to the general public.
In a modestly decorated hall, immediately adjacent to the Galleria dei Candelabri, hang the famous twenty-seven pieces of tapestry called arazzi. Woven of silk, wool, and gold thread by van Orlay and van Coxis in Brussels at a cost of $3400 each (present value, $12,000), these tapestries have always been the subject of great admiration, and numerous copies may be found in Berlin, Loreto, Dresden, Paris, and other places. Raphael made cartoons for ten of the Galleria tapestries; his pupils Penni and Pierin del Vaga executed twelve others in accordance with smaller sketches of the master; five are works of more recent date. The first series formerly adorned the unpainted lower portion of the walls of the Sistine Chapel; the second series were intended for the Consistorial Hall. Seven of the original cartoons of Raphael were purchased in France by Charles I of England, and they may now be seen in the South Kensington Museum. During the sack of Rome in 1527 the tapestries were stolen, but Julius III succeeded in having them restored. When Rome was occupied by the French in 1798, they were again seized and bartered to a Genoese Jew, from whom Pius VII acquired them in 1808. This rough handling damaged the tapestries, weakening and blurring the colours, but they are now carefully preserved. (Consult Farabulini, "L'arte degli Arazzi e la nuova Galleria dei Gobelins at Vaticano", Rome, 1884.)
The Vatican possesses an extensive studio for mosaic painting. The number of different coloured glass-pastes used exceeds 11,000. Almost all the altars in St. Peter's furnish evidence of the perfection to which this art has been carried in the imitation of renowned paintings. In the studio, which is at once an exhibition and salesroom for the mosaics manufactured, the visitor can see how the various artists work. Even smaller works demand the patient labour of many years. The pope is wont to choose a specially beautiful example of mosaic work as a present for royalty.
At the conclusion of this section it may be said that there is a vast number of other works of art distributed here and there throughout the Vatican Palace, but not accessible to the general public. To these belong the paintings of the Zuccari in the Torre dei Quattro Venti, the Bathroom of Cardinal Bibbiena, the chiaroscuri in a hall on the second floor, etc.
State halls for the celebration of various solemnities in the Vatican Palace came into existence gradually as their need became apparent; they reflect in their general decoration the taste prevailing at the periods of their construction. Although not so numerous as those in many royal palaces, the halls of the Vatican stand first in historical importance. Great events of interest for both profane and ecclesiastical history have taken place within them during the past centuries. As regards situation, there are two groups of rooms the first in the immediate vicinity of the Sistine Chapel and the second before and in the papal suite. The former group includes the Sala Regia, Sala Ducale, and Sala dei Paramenti; in the second are the Sala Clementina, Sala Concistoriale, Sala degli Arazzi, and Sala dei Trono.
Although not intended as such, this broad room is really an antechamber to the Sistine Chapel, reached by the Scala Regia. To the left of the entrance formerly stood the papal throne, which is now at the opposite side before the door leading to the Cappella Paolina. The hall was begun under Paul III by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and was completed in 1573. The elegant barrel-vault is provided with the highly graceful and very impressive plaster decorations of Pierin del Vaga. The stucco ornaments over the doors are by Daniele da Volterra. The longitudinal walls are broken on the one side by two, and on the other by three, large doors, between which Giorgio Vasari and Taddeo Zuccaro have introduced very powerful frescoes, whose effect is more than ornamental. They depict momentous turning-points in the life of the Church, among others the return of Gregory XI from Avignon to Rome, the battle of Lepanto, the raising of the ban from Henry IV, and the reconciliation of Alexander III with Frederick Barbarossa. This hall served originally for the reception of princes and royal ambassadors. Today the consistories are held in it, and an occasional musical recital in the presence of the pope; during a conclave it is a favourite promenade for the cardinals.
The Sala Ducale lies between the Sala Regia and the Loggie of Giovanni da Udine. Formerly there were here two separate halls, which were converted into one by Bernini by the removal of the separating wall (the position of which is still clearly perceptible). The decorative paintings, which are of a purely ornamental nature, are by Raffaellino da Reggio, Sabbatini, and Matthæus Brill. In this impressive hall were formerly held the public consistories for the reception of ruling princes. It now serves occasionally for the reception of pilgrims, the consecration of bishops, when (as rarely happens) this is undertaken by the pope, or is used for the accommodation of specified divisions of the papal household, when the pope holds a consistory in the Sala Regia, proceeds to the Sistine Chapel, or sets out with great solemnity for St. Peter's.
The Sala dei Paramenti lies a little to the left of the Sala Ducale, and adjoins immediately the Loggie of Giovanni da Udine. It receives its name from the fact that the pope assumes the pontifical vestments in one room of this suite before attending Divine service in the Cappella Sistina. The Sacred College assembles in another room to accompany the pope. Both rooms, which are not accessible to the public, are decorated with tapestries of beautiful colour, the walls are overarched with red damask, and the ceiling richly gilt. Here the members of the papal court assemble for breakfast after receiving their Easter Communion from the pope.
The Sala Clementina is a gigantic hall, two stories high, situated on the second floor, at the entrance to the papal apartments, and reached by the Scala Nobile. At the rear of this hall a division of the Swiss Guard is posted. The doors to the right lead to the apartments of the pope, those on the left to the Loggie, and those in the rear immediately to the Consistorial Hall. The magnificent marble wainscoting is over six feet; above it rise bold ornamental frescoes of splendid perspective, extending along the rounded ceiling. From the middle of the ceiling hangs a colossal chandelier, whose green patina combines wonderfully with the whole harmony of colours. Frequent repetitions of the coat of arms of Clement VIII, the builder of the hall, have been arranged by the artist with excellent taste. This great hall serves today as a waiting-room, as a vesting-room in the case of great receptions in the Consistorial Hall, and on rare occasions for the reception of pilgrimages or large deputations.
The long but rather narrow Consistorial Hall lies behind the Sala Clementina, and behind the Antecamera bassa to the right of that Sala. Erected by Clement XIII, it is employed for secret consistories, for official sessions under the presidency of the pope (postulations and the like), as well as for solemn receptions. The poor light afforded by the northern exposure of the room is still further reduced by dark red hangings on the walls. Some large oil paintings, representing religious subjects give life to the walls, and the coffered ceiling is richly gilt. Between the ceiling and the oil paintings are, besides rich ornamental painting, a number of landscape frescoes of delicate tone. At the rear of the hall stands a more elaborate than beautiful throne, which dates from the Vatican Exhibition; simple, but monumental, wooden stalls extend along the walls.
The Sala degli Arazzi receives its name from the vast framed Flemish tapestries which decorate every wall. As these magnificent pieces hang very low, the visitor can closely examine the fineness of the workmanship. Above the tapestries have been painted, since the time of Paul V, landscape frescoes, which alternate with the arms of this pope. A beautifully carved cornice supports the richly gilt coffered ceiling, which looks down on a mosaic marble floor. Curtains of white silk, with outside curtains of ungathered green silk, exclude too glaring a light. Perfect taste and harmony of colour exist throughout this immense hall.
Reference has been already made to the Throne Room. It may be added that to the right and left of the throne on two great marble tables stand two very valuable ancient clocks. Between the two windows, exactly opposite the throne, is an ivory crucifix of extraordinary dimensions and artistic value.
There are three state staircases in the Vatican. The first and best-known is the Scala Regia, which leads up to the Sala Regia. It was built under Alexander VII by Bernini, who, by the skilful arrangement of the columns supporting the curves, has entirely concealed the narrowing of the staircase towards the top. The second staircase, erected by Pius IX, leads from the Portone di Bronzo, the chief entrance to the Vatican, directly up to the Cortile di San Damaso. Constructed of granite steps several yards wide, the staircase has on the outer side a marble balustrade of corresponding bulk; the base is of Breccia marble, and above it as far as the ceiling extends artificial marble. A large painted window adorns the side looking towards the Piazza S. Pietro. Half-way up is the apartment of the sub-prefect of the Apostolic Palaces, while above, on the same floor as the Cortile di San Damaso, is the apartment occupied by the maestro di camera. This staircase is called after the name of its builder, Scala Pia. The third state staircase is the Scala Nobile, which leads from the Cortile di San Damaso to the third story, to the suite of the secretary of state, and runs past the papal apartments to the private suite of the pope. Light is admitted on the ground floor by the painted windows renovated by the Prince Regent of Bavaria after the powder explosion of 1882, and on the second floor by those donated by the Collegium Germanicum at the same period. The steps are of white marble; yellow artificial marble covers the walls, while the base is of pure marble. Rich plaster decorations cover the barrel-vault. The whole well of the staircase is simple, but of rare impressiveness and pleasing colour.
The supreme board of administration within the palace is the Prefettura dei Sacri Palazzi Apostolici, at the head of which stands as prefect the secretary of state. He is assisted by the sub-prefect, who, as executive and supervising official, possesses extensive authority. All artistic and scientific undertakings are subject in so far as their economic aspect is concerned, to the decision of the prefect. The departments of building, furnishing, administration of the magazine, household management, fire brigade, accountancy, the stables, printing works, gardening, and some other divisions are administered, under the supervision of the prefect, by more or less independent boards, whose directors e.g. the foriere maggiore and the cavallerizzo maggiore in some cases hold a high rank at Court (cf. Die kathol. Kirche unserer Zeit, I, pp. 286-88). Both the household and magazine authorities have so completed their tasks since 1903 that it is no longer necessary to make special plans for the fitting of rooms etc. on the occasion of great solemnities such as conclaves. Pius X has everything arranged in a permanent fashion and preserved in the store-rooms, and in this manner has introduced considerable savings. The department of building, which under Leo XIII was rather neglected, is now busy with perfecting the architectural condition of the palace. The sub-prefect is restoring to their former condition a large number of magnificent halls, which during the course of the last century were subdivided vertically and horizontally to make smaller rooms. In the execution of these works some important discoveries have been made. Very important and thorough repairs were made throughout the palace. The floor of the Galleria Lapidaria was laid with bricks, the windows closed very badly, and the general condition of this magnificent corridor left very much to be desired. Repairs being thus urgently needed, a mere rectification of the damages would not be sufficient. Moreover such a proceeding would be contrary to the traditions of the Curia, which executes in monumental fashion whatever it undertakes. When the floor, windows, arches, and masonry were all overhauled in the Appartamento Borgia, the Collections of ancient pagan carvings, which were exhibited along the walls under the inscriptions, received an unusual increase. The reduction of the stud was begun under Leo XIII and completed under Pius X, so that the pope now possesses comparatively few horses. The extremely strict discipline which Pius X has introduced into all branches of the Vatican administration, has met with splendid success.
Experience has proved it necessary that the Curia should maintain a tribunal before which all legal disputes relating in any way to the Vatican administration might be decided. The Italian courts are in such cases powerless and inefficacious, because their jurisdiction ceases at the palace gates. As there must ever be recriminations wherever there are numerous relations with the commercial world, where there are crowds of clerks and great circulation of money, two "Commissioni Prelatizie per decretare intorno alle controversie e contestazioni con le amministrazioni palatine" were created by Decree of 20 February 1882, to decide all claims made against the Curial administration. The title possesses a juristic interest: the official bodies are called commissioni, not tribunali; decretare, and not giudicare or decidere, is used; and the processes are termed controversie and contestazioni. Although the Decree manifestly avoids giving the name of court of justice to the new institution, it is such de facto. The two commissions then created are each composed of three prelates, who have the decision of processes both in first and also in second instance. The court of third instance is formed by the union of the other two under the presidency of the general auditor of the Apostolic Chamber. All the prelates have a legal training, and in each of the first two courts are a president and two colleagues. Each court has a prelate as petitioner and a secretary. It is a notable feature that, for the execution of all judgments which are legally given against the Vatican administration, nothing is provided.
The procedure of these courts is as follows: The process is begun by written documents placed in the hands of the president. The defendant lodges a written answer within a certain interval, after which further pleas and counterpleas may continue. On the conclusion of the written explanations or after the expiration of a certain interval, during which no further counterpleas are forthcoming, the decision is given and published by exhibition in the Secretariate. The interval for appeal is six months, dating from the day of the publication of judgment. These courts employ every means to establish the facts as they actually are: the examination of witnesses, the administration of oaths, decisive or supplementary oaths, the examination of experts, etc. The costs of court are regulated on the basis of the provisions of the Papal States. The tribunal of the prefecture, of which the competence cannot be exactly established, has an inquisitor and a secretary. Before this court are heard criminal charges.
The sanitary service and the hygienic department were reorganized on 14 November, 1893. In accordance with modern requirements, exhaustive measures were taken in all matters connected with these departments. In particular the water service was thoroughly renovated. The sanitary corps is under the direction of the physician in ordinary to the pope, under whom also stand five other physicians and some assistants. Two of the physicians are appointed for day duty, and two for night; the fifth attends the Swiss Guards. The assistants represent the physicians, when these are unable to attend, but on all solemn occasions, when an unusually great number of persons assemble, they must (like the physicians) be always in attendance. The sanitary service and hygienic department are subordinate to the Prefecture of the Apostolic Palaces. The Vatican dispensary, which was formerly in the Cortile di San Damaso, was recently transferred to the quarters of the Swiss Guards, and lies at the door of the Torrione di Nicolò V which leads to the city. Consequently it is easily accessible to the inhabitants of the Borgo, who avail themselves very freely of it. It is entrusted to three Brothers of Mercy, and delivers all medicines at the rates appointed by the urban council of Rome in favour of the poor. A list hanging up in the dispensary shows to what residents and servants of the palace medicines are to be given gratis.
There is within the Vatican a well-organized service of police and guards. Military and police bodies protect persons and property, and the fire department prevents damage from fire. The special military guardians of the palace are the Swiss Guards; entrusted with the specifically police duties are the gendarmes. The Palatine Guards are rather a guard of honour, and the Noble Guard a mounted bodyguard with very limited service. The fire brigade is formed by the Guardie del Fuoco. In view of the peculiar political position of the pope in Rome, the careful guarding of the Vatican presents special difficulties; but, despite the objectionable attitude of the Italian police commissioners in the Borgo, few contretemps are to be complained of. For among the great throngs to the papal assemblages there are always some ready to seize the opportunity to create a disturbance, if the slightest pretext offers itself.
The commander of the Swiss has the rank of a colonel of the regular troops and is addressed with this title. The other officers, therefore, have a rank three grades higher than their name indicates, and all the guards without exception possess the rank of sergeant in the regular troops. The quartermaster acts also as secretary of the commanding officer and as ordnance officer. The corps has its special chaplain and chapel, SS. Martino e Sebastiano, built by Pius V in 1568. Every candidate for the Guards must be a native Swiss, a Catholic, of legitimate birth, unmarried, under twenty-five years of age, at least five feet and eight inches in height, healthy, and free from bodily disfigurements. Whoever is not eligible for military service in Switzerland, is likewise refused admission into the Guards. The following papers are required: a certificate from his home (or a pass), baptismal certificate, and testimonial as to character, all signed by the authorities of his parish. After a year of good conduct the cost of the journey to Rome is refunded; this refund may, however, be paid in instalments after a period of seven months. Applications for admission are to be addressed directly to the commanding officer. Those who wish to retire from the Guards may freely do so after giving three months' notice. After eighteen years' service each member of the Guards is entitled to a pension for life amounting to one-half of his pay, after twenty years to a pension amounting to two-thirds of his pay, after twenty-five years to five-sixths of his pay, and after thirty years to his full pay.
The duties of the Guards are as follows: They are responsible for the guarding of the sacred person of the pope and the protection of the Apostolic Palaces, all exits from the palace to the city and the entrance doors to the papal apartments being entrusted to their charge. They have also to take up their position in all pontifical functions in the papal chapels and in all other religious functions both within and without the Apostolic Palaces (the latter are now confined to St. Peter's) at which the pope assists. They have also other duties regulated by ancient traditions or more recent decrees. In addition, they have to appear for service at the order of the prefect of the Apostolic Palaces (the majordomo) and the maestro di camera. The religious privileges of the guards are very extensive. In all public processions the Swiss Guards take their place immediately behind the Noble Guard. As guards they are subject to the prefect of the Apostolic Palaces and were not in earlier times subject, like the regular troops, to the Ministry of War. When the pope occupies the sedia gestatoria, he is surrounded by six of the Swiss Guards, who carry the large swords known as "double-handed". The commander (colonel) of the Guards is an ex-officio privy chamberlain, and has the entrée into the Anticamera Segreta; the lieutenant (major) and the sublieutenant (captain of the first class) are ex officio honorary chamberlains, and have the entrée only to the Throne Room, which lies before the Anticamera Segreta. The Swiss Guards are fully armed, and have to submit to a strict course of exercises and gymnastics. Football is zealously cultivated by them in the Cortile del Belvedere, and their trumpet corps is splendidly organized. On solemn occasions, such as special functions in the German Cemetery near St. Peter's (Campo Santo Teutonico), which is also the burial-place for the Guards, the trumpet corps appears in public.
Even in the fifteenth century the popes possessed a body-guard of the Catholic Swiss. In 1505, at the instance of the Swiss Cardinal Schinner, a treaty was made by Julius II with the two cantons of Zurich and Lucerne, in accordance with which these cantons had to supply constantly 250 men as a body-guard to the pope. Since this date there has always been about the pope a corps of Swiss Guards (cf. Baumgarten, "Katholische Kirche unserer Zeit", I 297 sqq.; "Kirchliche Handlexikon", s.v. "Schweizergarde"). At present the Guards possess a strength of exactly 100 men (including the six officers), who suffice not alone for the complete discharge of the various duties of the corps but also for the maintenance of a watch (formerly essentially more strict and extensive) over the pope during the night. Their old picturesque uniform of black, red, and yellow, in sixteenth-century style, is still retained. A black hat with red strings has recently replaced the very ugly helmet. While exercising, on night watch, or in barracks, the men wear a steel-blue undress uniform, consisting of wider tunic, knee-breeches, dark-blue stockings, and laced boots, but while on guard duty they wear dark-yellow stockings and buckled shoes. On especially solemn occasions both men and officers appear in military uniform with weapons and helmets. The barracks of the Guards lies at the foot of the Palace of Sixtus V. A portion of the building was erected in 1492 during the reign of Alexander VI. The canteen of the Guards furnishes them with their board. The religious privileges of the Guards are very extensive and their regulation pertains to their chaplain who consults the Holy Father in this regard. The care of their other privileges appertains to their commander.
The corps of Gendarmes of the Apostolic Palaces consists of Italians, who must measure at least five feet nine inches, have completed an entirely unobjectionable period of service in the Italian army, and have secured good certificates of character from both the secular and religious authorities. Upon them devolves the policing of the palace and the gardens, and they are also employed in the honorary service of the Anticamera. They have a barracks in the gardens and another near the quarters of the Swiss Guards. Like the Swiss Guards, they also have a music corps, which gives a concert on feasts in the Cortile di S. Damaso. The gendarmes are subject to the Prefect of the Apostolic Palaces; their commander has the court rank of honorary chamberlain and bears the official title of "Delegato per i servizi di Sicurezza e Polizia". The corps musters 62 men.
The Palatine Guard, as it exists today, extends back to Pius IX. In the Regolamento of 14 December, 1850, he decreed that the two bodies of militia, the civici scelti and the capotori, should be united into one body under the new name of the Guardia Palatina d'Onore. In 1860 this guard was increased and placed on the footing of a regiment of 748 men with 2 battalions and 8 companies. Before 1870 the services of this regiment were not confined to the palace, watch-duties in the city and military operations in war being assigned them. After 1870 the regimental band of 63 men was disbanded, and the corps greatly diminished. The lieutenant-colonel in command has the rank of colonel. As distinguished from the Swiss Guards, who are appointed for the guarding of the pope's person, the Palatine Guard perform such duties in the papal service as are detailed in the directions of the majordomo and the maestro di camera. All the members of the corps are Roman citizens; they perform their few duties gratis, but receive 80 lire annually for their uniforms. During the conclave a company of the Palatine Guard is stationed in the Cortile del Maresciallo under the command of the hereditary Marshal of the Conclave, Prince Chigi.
This most distinguished corps of the papal military service has an interesting history. The mounted guard of the popes was formerly formed of the corps of cavalleggieri (light cavalry). By Motu Proprio of 1744 Benedict XIV gave these mounted guards a new organization, fixing their number at 90. After the disbanding of these troops during the confusion of the French Revolution, Pius VII formed a new body-guard composed of the remainder of the cavalleggieri and the old cavaliers delle lancie spezzate. A Decree of 11 May, 1801, ordered the institution of the Noble Guard (guardie nobili di corpo), the Spanish noble guards being taken as the model. The political revolutions under Napoleon I prevented the proper formation of the new corps, so that the reorganization effected by warrant of the Cardinal-Secretary of State, Ercole Consalvi, of 8 November, 1815, was found necessary. The petition of Count Giovanni Mastai Ferretti (afterwards Pius IX) for admission into the Guards (26 June, 1814), which was rejected on account of his weak health, is still preserved in the archives of the Noble Guard. Leo XIII amalgamated the existing two companies and in accordance with the changed conditions of the time, gave them new regulations, and declared that the corps should consist of 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 sublieutenant, 8 lance-corporals, 1 lance-corporal as corps adjutant, 8 cadets, 1 cadet as adjutant, 48 guards, 1 quarter-master, 1 equerry, 1 armourer, 1 master of ordnance, and 4 trumpeters. The whole corps thus numbered 77 men. The captain ranks as a lieutenant-general of regulars, and the other grades accordingly. One-third of the simple members of the corps enjoy the rank of captain, one-third that of lieutenant, and the remaining third that of sublieutenant.
In place of the earlier cabinet couriers, the Noble Guards have the exclusive right of conveying the tidings of their elevation to the "crown cardinals" in Catholic lands, as well as to nuncios of the first class when raised to the cardinalate, and also of bringing to their residences the red hat. Conditions for reception into the corps are as follows: age, 21-25; testimonial as to good character from the parish-priest, bishop, or other ecclesiastical authorities; 60 years line of a nobility recognized in the Papal States, with the same tests as in the Order of Malta; height, at least five feet and seven inches; and perfect bodily health. The post of commander lies at the free disposal of the pope, and is always entrusted to a Roman prince. Otherwise promotion is regulated exclusively by length of service. The Noble Guard makes its appearance in public only when the pope takes part in a public function; when the pope withdraws, he is followed by the Noble Guard. During a vacancy of the Holy See, the corps stands at the service of the College of Cardinals. The Gonfaloniere, or standard-bearer, of the Holy Roman Church, with the rank of lieutenant general, has the right of wearing the uniform of the Noble Guard. (Cf. Baumgarten, "Kathol. Kirche unserer Zeit", I, 290-93.)
The Vatican fire-brigade, which is organized according to the most modern methods, is employed also for other duties, since they are rarely needed on their main duty. The brigade possesses no special features.
The Vatican must be regarded as the administrative centre of the Catholic Church, since it is the residence of the supreme head of that Church, and from it the whole Church is governed. From here the pope issues a Decree or Motu Proprio, advises the prefects or managing cardinals of the congregations, and in all important matters his personal business activity is always clearly indicated. From this standpoint the Vatican is a business centre of the first rank. Other extensive business transacted in the palace is less well known. Since the seizure of the Papal States by the Piedmontese makes it impossible to hold the conclave for the election of a new pope (notwithstanding the assurances of the Law of Guarantees see below, section XVI) outside the Vatican, this important business must be transacted there. Conclaves were held at the Vatican in 1878 and 1903. On each occasion such exact particulars of their distinctive features were given to the newspapers and other periodicals, that there is no need of giving any details here (cf. CONCLAVE, PIUS X).
The most important of the numerous bodies which have their general offices in the palace is the Secretariate of State. All the offices of this department (in so far as it deals with political and ecclesiastico-political matters) are situated on the third floor of those portions of the old Apostolic Palace which were built by Nicholas V, Callistus III, Pius II, and Julius II, and surround the Cortile del Papagallo and the Cortile del Maresciallo. They lie above the Sala dei Chiaroscuri, the Chapel of Nicholas V, and the adjoining rooms. Before 1870 the Secretariate of State had its seat in the Quirinal, but was on 20 September of that year changed provisionally to the sections of the Vatican Palace erected by Gregory XIII, Sixtus V, and Clement VIII, and situated under the Sala Concistoriale, the Sala degli Arazzi, and the Throne Room and some adjacent rooms. Meanwhile, by raising the walls and the roof, Cardinal Antonelli had a number of new apartments created, and thereby found at his disposal twenty-one rooms, in which are now found not alone the offices of the Secretariate of State, but also those (7) of the earlier independent Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (see THE ROMAN CONGREGATIONS). Here are transacted all the numerous affairs which, according to the existing regulations, fall within the jurisdiction of these two congregations. When recently the Secretariate of Briefs was placed under the direction of the secretary of state, the offices of this great department were transferred to the Vatican Palace and established in the unoccupied halls of the old picture-gallery. All the bureaux of the Secretariate of State are now on the same floor. The extent of business transacted here is evidenced by the archives. In the archives for "Ordinary" affairs (the first section of the Secretariate), all the "positions" as the huge fascicles are called from the year 1860 are preserved. Every ten years the then oldest decade here preserved is removed to the secret archives. The inventories (called rubricelle), which are added to the collections from day to day, render it possible to discover immediately any particular document. The exceedingly difficult and tedious task of making these inventories, is persevered in only on account of their proved utility. Regarding the work and organization of the above-named, formerly independent congregations (now treated as the Second Section of the Secretariate of State) see THE ROMAN CONGREGATIONS.
A whole series of Roman Congregations hold either regularly or on special occasions their sessions in the Vatican. When not held in the council-room in the suite of the Secretariate of State, special rooms are provided for them. Every Tuesday and Friday morning the secretary of state receives the ambassadors and envoys accredited to the Holy See, so that all diplomatic affairs not transacted by correspondence are conducted in the Vatican. The secret, semipublic and public consistories are held either in the Sala Concistoriale or in the Sala Regia. Only in exceptional cases is a consistory held outside the palace in the Aula situated above the porch of St. Peter's. Accessible only from the Sala Regia (except by the small staircase for servants), this enormous and lengthy hall forms no organic portion of the palace. The last of the consistories was held there on 30 November, 1911. The offices of the Secretariates of Latin Briefs and of Briefs to Princes, which form distinct departments, are also found in the palace (cf. Baumgarten, "Die kathol. Kirche unserer Zeit", I, 491-94). A place of great activity is the Secret Chancery of the Holy Father; here are discharged all affairs pertaining to the pope in so far as they do not belong to any of the special departments. Within the sphere of this department, besides the purely private affairs of the pope, are numberless petitions which were formerly referred to the now abolished Secretariate of Memorials.
The Alms, to be distributed according to certain principles, are entrusted to the Secret Almoner of the pope, who is always a titular archbishop. His offices lie near the quarters of the Swiss Guards. All donations accruing in the form of Peterspence are administered separately by the "Commissione Cardinalizia amministratrice dei Beni della Santa Sede". The offices lie in the loggie of the third story in the eastern wing of the palace. To ensure in so far as feasible the possessions of a number of small chapters from possible seizure by the Italians, the pope has directed that all titles to annuities from these should be preserved in the Vatican. For the administration of this property a "Commissione per le opere di religione" has been instituted, which pays over to the proper parties the accruing interests and assists the corporations both with advice and actively, when they are meditating some financial transaction, whether the purchase of a new title or the exchange of old titles for others. The "Commissione Cardinalizia per gli studi storici", whenever they hold their meetings, also assemble in the Vatican. In conclusion must still be mentioned the numerous offices of the palatine administration, which is naturally very extensive. This collection of heterogeneous departments for the transaction of business is inevitable, since the Holy See is compelled to concentrate everything in the Vatican as far as possible.
By the Bull, "Eam semper ex" of 27 April, 1587, Sixtus V established a printing-office for the printing of the official edition of the Latin Vulgate which he had undertaken (cf. Baumgarten, "Die Vulgata Sixtina von 1590 u. ihre Einführungsbulle", Münster, 1911, pp. 1-12). Since that time there has existed a Typographia Vaticana, in the rooms on the ground floor in the middle of the southern wing of the palace, and thus under the old reading-room of the Vatican Library. Shortly after its foundation in 1626, the Congregation of the Propaganda also established a printing-office, which, in accordance with the needs of the missions, soon developed into a Typographia Polyglotta (cf. Prior, "Die kathol. Kirche unserer Zeit", I, 406-07). After enjoying an epoch of international repute, this institution had in recent years fallen to a low level owing to the absence of expert management and sufficient funds. Pius X therefore resolved to unite it with the Vatican Press. This amalgamation was effected when the Vatican Press, whose printing machines were to a great extent out-of-date and whose quarters were inadequate, was thoroughly reorganized and transferred to new quarters (1910).
The old riding-school of the Noble Guard, known as the Cavallerizza, lying on the Torrione di Niccolo V, was completely reconstructed in 1909 and fitted for the reception of a great first-class printing-office. The latest and best machines were procured, the lighting splendidly regulated, and the arrangement of the offices made in the most practical way. Hither was transferred the Typographia Vaticana with all the valuable type of the Polyglotta of the Propaganda, and given the new name of "Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana". At the same time there was inaugurated an improvement of methods, which guaranteed substantial savings and greater capacity as compared with former arrangements. The general department of the new printing-offices was established in the high basement and ground-floor; the secret department on the first floor of the new building. The staffs of the two departments are completely separate, both departments have different entrances, which are closed during working hours. The printing-office serves in the first place for the various official purposes of the Curia. Then, according to its capacity, it undertakes printing commissions entrusted to it by outsiders. Thus, for example, a portion of the monumental work of the Görresgesellschaft on the Council of Trent was printed here. The "Acta Apostolicæ Sedis", the circulation of which amounts almost to 10,000 copies, the "Gerarchia Cattolica", the new choral editions, and similar works are the best known of the official productions of the Vatican Press.
In the Law of Guarantees of the Italian State, which came into force on 13 May 1871, it was explicitly declared that all residences of the pope on Italian soil should enjoy immunity and should be extraterritorial. It follows that the Vatican Palace must be immune and extraterritorial in the eyes of the Italian authorities. Consequently, all action of the Italian authorities must stop at the gates of the Vatican; the inhabitants of the palace cannot be taxed, subpoenaed, or summoned to defend themselves. All consignments directed expressly to the administration of the palace are duty-free, and all letters addressed to the pope from Italy require no stamps. The official telegrams of the Vatican authorities are sent gratis to all parts of the world. These and other exceptions from the ordinary laws of Italy are the consequences of the Law of Guarantees, in so far as they are not expressly mentioned therein. The Radicals and the Freemasons have already frequently demanded the abrogation of the Law of Guarantees, urging that it is a purely Italian law, and may therefore be abrogated by the same agents as made it. This statement is false. The Vatican is extraterritorial, not according to Italian, but according to international law, as is clearly shown in the negotiations preceding its adoption. Both the Lower Chamber and the Senate voted on the law with the clear intention of bringing it to pass through international law that the Catholics of the whole world should to a certain extent be set at ease as to the position of their supreme head. The Italian legislative agents freely assumed obligations towards the Powers and all Catholics, as was an absolute necessity of the politics of the day. These obligations can under no circumstances be set aside at the wishes of one party. The plea that the pope did not recognize the law is entirely beside the question; his refusal was foreseen by the legislators, and notwithstanding it, as the premier then declared, Italy as under an obligation to pass the law. It thus follows incontestably that it is not in the power of the Italian legislative agents to alter in any way the present legal position of the Vatican Palace. The pope is, however, personally indifferent as to whether the Italian Government may in the future perpetrate further injustices in addition to those of the past. One who has had to endure so much, will not remain without consolation should another cross be added to those he already bears.
There is, however, no obstacle to the cultivation of certain relations between the Vatican and Italian authorities, such indeed being rendered indispensable by the social intercourse of the present day. For example, since the pope refuses to exercise de facto the right of punishment theoretically vested in him, malefactors (should any crime be committed) are turned over to the Italian authorities for the thorough investigation of their cases. Warnings on various points are sent from the Italian to the Vatican authorities, so that the latter may be on their guard. Communications of a confidential nature may be exchanged, but in such a manner that neither of the parties enters into any obligation nor prejudices its position; when necessary it is effected through recognized channels unofficially. When the pope attends a solemnity in St. Peter's, the basilica is then and then only regarded as belonging to the Vatican; on other occasions it is regarded as a monumento nazionale. By tacit agreement the whole policing during these services lies in the hands of the Vatican authorities. But there are also a great number of Italian detectives in civilian dress, who, assisted by the Vatican authorities, bar objectionable persons from the edifice and quietly remove those who by any means may have obtained entrance. The ambulance stations in St. Peter's, rendered necessary by the assemblage of from thirty to forty thousand persons, are established by the sanitary board of the Vatican.
The above information makes sufficiently clear both the theoretical juristic and the practical position of the relations between the Vatican and the Italian authorities. In the article LAW OF GUARANTEES will be found a more explicit statement of the relations between the Holy See and the Italian Government. Pius IX at the time of the violent occupation in 1870 by the troops of Victor Emmanuel refused to recognize the right of the Italian Government, and his successors, Leo XIII and Pius X, constantly maintained the same attitude. Both pontiffs have, on various occasions, declared themselves as unalterably opposed to the recognition of the claim of the Italian Government to temporal sovereignty in Rome.
In addition to works given at the end of certain sections, an abundance of literature on the Vatican Palace will be found in comprehensive works on the history of the popes, such as those by RANKE, PASTOR, VON REUMONT, GREGOROVIUS; treatises on art by CROWE AND CAVALCASELLE, VERMIGLIOLI, SCHMARSOW, VASARI; chronicles, by BURKHARD and INFESSURA; Annales ecclesiastici of BARONIUS, RINALDUS, and their continuators; Bullarium Romanum and other collections of documents; and BLANI, Bibliographie italico-française, ou Catalogue méthodique de tous les imprimés en langue française sur l'Italie ancienne et moderne (1475-1835) (2 vols., Paris, 1886-87). Numerous guides for travellers and pilgrims contain a great quantity of more or less reliable information. Among the best comprehensive and accurate works may be mentioned: CHATTARD, Nuova descrizione del Vaticano e della Sacrosanta Basilica di San Pietro (Rome, 1762-67); TAJA, Descrizione del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano (Rome, 1750); PISTOLESI, Il Vaticano descritto ed illustrato (8 vols., Rome, 1819-38), with numerous plates and illustrations; DONOVAN, Rome Ancient and Modern and Its Environs (Rome, 1844).
APA citation. (1912). The Vatican. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15276b.htm
MLA citation. "The Vatican." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15276b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.