vatican museums museo pio cristiano

In the Pio Christian Museum they are kept many Christian antiquity archaeological remains found in the catacombs of Rome: it is mostly sarcophagi and statues dated between the second and the fifth century A.D. Pope Pius IX decided its foundation in 1854 a few years after the start of the excavations entrusted to the Commission Sacred Archaeology. Initially the museum was located in some rooms of the Lateran Palace, the papal residence until 1304, and now in the New Wing of the Vatican Museums. The most famous archaeological find of the Pio Christian Museum is the Good Shepherd Statue realized by an anonymous sculptor and found in the Catacombs of San Callisto. The work, in white marble, depicts a young shepherd (iconography of Jesus Christ, much used in the past) with a garment without sleeves and a bag slung over his shoulders holding a small lamb. In fact, the statuette is the only piece found a bas-relief originally decorated a particularly rich sarcophagus.

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