Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Vatican sign agreements (PHOTO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3

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Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has viewed the Pio-Clementino Museum as part of her visit to the Vatican.

The First Lady was informed that the museum originally contained the renaissance and antique works.

The nucleus of the pontifical collections of classical sculpture dates back to the original collection of pope Julius II (1503-1513) which was housed in the Cortile delle Statue (today the Octagonal Court). During the second half of the 18th century the pontifical collections were enormously expanded both as a result of excavations being carried out in Rome and Lazio, and by donations from collectors and antiquaries. The influence of Enlightenment thinking resulted in the inauguration of a museum in the modern sense, open to the public and explicitly charged with the task of safeguarding antique works of art, and promoting the study and understanding of them. The Museum is called Pio Clementino after the two popes who oversaw its foundation, Clement XIV Ganganelli (1769-1774) and Pius VI Braschi (1775-1799).

The museum fills several large exhibition halls which were obtained by adapting pre-existing rooms with new constructions both within and adjacent to the small Belvedere Palace of Innocent VIII (1484-92). Antique sculpture was brought here and ancient roman pieces have often had their missing parts completely restored. The neo-classical architecture was realized under the direction of Alessandro Dori, Michelangelo Simonetti, and Giuseppe Camporese and embellished by the work of a large number of painters and decorators.

With the Treaty of Tolentino the Papal States were forced to give up the principal masterpieces in the Museum to Napoleon and they were transported to Paris. Much later, following the defeat of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna and thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Antonio Canova, the greater part of the works were recovered.

The Vatican Museums are the museums of the Vatican City and are located within the city's boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

Pope Julius second founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. They were visited by 4,310,083 people in the year 2007. The Vatican Museums broke attendance records in 2011 with just over 5 million people.

There are 54 galleries, or salas, in total, with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum.

Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva then met Secretary General of the Vatican Governorate, Archbishop Vergez Alzaga.

Vergez Alzaga thanked Mehriban Aliyeva for her interest in the Vatican Museum and expressed confidence that the cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Vatican Museum would be successful.

They then signed two agreements on the restoration of a monument to Zeus and reconstruction work in Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museum by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

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