The Pio Clementino Museum is part of the Vatican Museums in Rome. It is here that the most important Greek and Roman sculptures from the Vatican’s collection are displayed. The museum is named after Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI, who held office towards the end of the 18th century.
Pio Clementino Museum Rome
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address, opening hours and entrance price of the Museo Pio Clementino are those of the Vatican Museums.
Sections Pio Clementino Museum Rome
Through the Vestibolo Quadrato and a room with a marble tub, one enters the Gabinetto dell’Apoxyomenos, named after a Roman copy of a statue made in 320 B.C. by Lisippo that depicts an athlete using a kind of razor to wipe the sweat from his body.
Staircase of Bramante
From the next room one can see the Scala del Bramante, a spiral staircase commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1512 and built inside a square tower to connect the Palazzetto of Innocenzo VIII to the city. The staircase was also accessible to horses.
This “octagonal courtyard” was built by Clement XIV in 1772. The Apollo of the Belvedere is a 2nd century copy of a Greek original from the 4th century B.C. This statue was considered the perfect work of art in the neo-classical era and brought to the Vatican by Julius II. The Laocoonte statue group is a 1st century copy found on the Esquilino hill in 1506. The original dates back to the 2nd century BC and was made by Hagesandros, Athanadoros and Polydoros. Laocoonte was a priest who had shielded his fellow townsmen from the Trojan horse and, together with his children, had suffered the wrath of Pallas Athena for it. Of more recent origin is the “Perseus with the head of Medusa between two Boxers” completed by Antonio Canova in 1801.
Sala degli Animali
The “Hall of Animals” is located next to the courtyard and here are statues of animals from Roman times, restored towards the end of the 18th century.
The Galleria delle Statue is also entered through the courtyard. Until the 2nd half of the 18th century this was the loggia of the Palazzetto di Innocenzo VIII. There are many Roman statues copied after ancient Greek sculptures. Highlights are the Apollo Sauroktonos (“snail killer”) and the “Sleeping Arianna”.
Sala dei Busti
The Sala dei Busti contains mostly portraits of Roman emperors.
Gabinetto delle Maschere
The highlight of the “Cabinet of Masks” is the “Cnidia Venus”, a Roman copy of an original made by Praxiteles in the 4th century BC that stood in the Sanctuary of Cnidio.
Sala delle Muse
The Sala delle Muse contains statues of muses and poets, as usual copies of Greek originals. The most famous work of art here is the “Torso of the Belvedere,” an original by the Greek sculptor Apollonio. It is thought to represent the hero Ajax contemplating suicide.
Built towards the end of the 18th century in a classical style by Michelangelo Simonetti, the “Round Hall” has a dome reminiscent of the Pantheon. The large central bowl is from the Domus Aurea and the gilded bronze statue of Hercules (2nd century AD) was found at the Theater of Pompei. The mosaic comes from the Terme di Otrocoli (near Perugia) and dates from the 3rd century.
Hall of the Greek Cross
The Sala a Croce Greca features a mosaic from Tuscolo (3rd century), as well as two huge sarcophagi made of red porphyry. In the left sarcophagus (4th century) lies the mother of Emperor Constantine, Sant’Elena. This came from her Mausoleum on Via Labicana, while the other sarcophagus, in which the emperor’s daughter, Costantina, was buried, was originally kept in the Santa Costanza Church on Via Nomentana.
Via the Scala Simonetti one enters the other halls of the Palazzetto di Innocenzo VIII, where the Etruscan Museum is located.