The Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani) are the public art and sculpture museums in the Vatican City, which display works from the extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church. The museums were founded in the 16th century by Pope Julius II.
The first of the Vatican Museums (Pio-Clementino) was founded by Pope Clement XIV in 1771, and originally 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 art; Apollo del Belvedere (attributed to Leochares), Laocoon and his Sons by Agesander and the Belvedere Torso are the best known.
The second museum is named after Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti, who founded it in the early 1800s. The collection consists mostly of Roman statues, some of them are copies of Greek works, or inspired by them. Galeria Lapidaria is another part of Chiaramonti museum, with more than 3000 stone tablets and inscriptions, which is the world's greatest collection of its kind. However, it is opened only by special permission, usually for reasons of study.
The third museum is the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco.
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