Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums are Christian art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael, are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2017, they were visited by six million people, which combined makes them the 4th most visited art museum in the world. They are one of the largest museums in the world. There are 54 galleries, or sale, in total, with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum. The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased in the 16th century: Laocoon and His Sons was discovered on 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who were working at the Vatican, to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture, which depicts the Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons being attacked by giant serpents, on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery. Benedict XIV founded the Museum Christianum, and some of the Vatican collections formed the Lateran Museum, which Pius IX founded by decree in 1854. The Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary in October 2006 by permanently opening the excavations of a Vatican Hill necropolis to the public. On 1 January 2017, Barbara Jatta became the Director of the Vatican Museums, replacing Antonio Paolucci who had been director since 2007. The art gallery was housed in the Borgia Apartment until Pope Pius XI ordered construction of a proper building. The new building, designed by Luca Beltrami, was inaugurated on 27 October 1932. The museum's paintings include: Giotto's Stefaneschi Triptych. Olivuccio di Ciccarello, Opere di Misericordia. Raphael's Madonna of Foligno, Oddi Altarpiece and Transfiguration. Leonardo da Vinci's St. Jerome in the Wilderness. Caravaggio's Entombment. Perugino's Madonna and Child with Saints and San Francesco al Prato Resurrection. Filippo Lippi's Marsuppini Coronation. Jan Matejko's Sobieski at Vienna. The Collection of Modern Religious Art was added in 1973 and houses paintings and sculptures from artists like Carlo Carra, Giorgio de Chirico, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. The group of museums includes several sculpture museums surrounding the Cortile del Belvedere. These are the Gregoriano Profano Museum, with classical sculpture, and others as below: The museum takes its name from two popes; Clement XIV, who established the museum, and Pius VI, the pope who brought the museum to completion. Clement XIV came up with the idea of creating a new museum in Innocent VIII's Belvedere Palace and started the refurbishment work. Pope Clement XIV founded the Pio-Clementino museum in 1771, and originally it contained the Renaissance and antique works. The museum and collection were enlarged by Clement's successor Pius VI. Today, the museum houses works of Greek and Roman sculpture. Some notable galleries are: Greek Cross Gallery: with the porphyry sarcophagi of Constance and Saint Helen, daughter and mother of Constantine the Great. Sala Rotonda: shaped like a miniature Pantheon, the room has impressive ancient mosaics on the floors, and ancient statues lining the perimeter, including a gilded bronze statue of Hercules. Gallery of the Statues: as its name implies, holds various important statues, including Sleeping Ariadne and the bust of Menander. It also contains the Barberini Candelabra. Gallery of the Busts: Many ancient busts are displayed. Cabinet of the Masks: The name comes from the mosaic on the floor of the gallery, found in Villa Adriana, which shows ancient theater masks. Statues are displayed along the walls, including the Three Graces. Sala delle Muse: Houses the statue group of Apollo and the nine muses, uncovered in a Roman villa near Tivoli in 1774, as well as statues by important ancient Greek or Roman sculptors.