Gregoriano Profano Museum Rome (Vatican Museums)

The Museo Gregoriano Profano is one of the Vatican Museums in Rome. The museum is divided into 5 sections of mostly (Roman copies of) Greek sculptures. There are also well-preserved mosaics from the Baths of Caracalla.

Gregoriano Profano Museum Rome

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Athlete mosaic from the Baths of caracalla, Gregorio Profano Museum, vatican, Rome.
Athlete mosaic from the Baths of Caracalla.

The Museo Gregoriano Profano was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1844. Its original seat was the Palazzo Lateranense. In 1970, the collection was moved to the Vatican by order of Pope John XXIII.

The museum’s collection consists of Greek sculptures and Roman copies of Greek originals, as well as Roman statues from the 1st to the 3rd centuries. Most of the artworks were found during excavations at sites that were part of the former Papal State.

The museum is divided into five sections.

The Collection

Section I

Section I displays (fragments of) Greek sculptures and reliefs from the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

Section II

Section II deals with Roman copies of Greek originals. The copies date from the 1st to the 3rd century. The most famous is the sculpture group “Athena and Marsyas”, a copy of a work made by the Greek sculptor Myron of Eleutherae around 450 BC, which stood on the Arcopolis in Athens.

Section III

Section III shows Roman sculptures from the 1st and early 2nd centuries. The majority consists of busts and altars. The highlight is the so-called Ara dei Vicomagistri, which was found under the Palazzo della Cancelleria in 1939. It is five meters wide and was probably the base of an altar or sculpture group (20-40 AD).

Section IV

In Section IV a number of sarcophagi are on display.

Section V

Section V shows Roman sculptures from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Also located here are a number of mosaics that came from the Terme di Caracalla.

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