Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Schindler

Second Advisor

David Alvarez

Third Advisor

Pauline Ota


This thesis examines the Popes' influence on the public's understanding of Ancient Egypt through their display of Egyptian and Egyptianizing antiquities in the Vatican Museums, the Pope's public art collections in the Vatican. The Vatican Museums exhibit not only Egyptian and Egyptianizing antiquities but also internationally famous Greco-Roman antiquities (such as the Laocoon and Belvedere Torso), the Sistine Chapel and all of its paintings, and Ancient Near Eastern artifacts. Since the Vatican Museums, the Pope's public art collections in the Vatican, receive over six million visitors per year, the Pope's ability to affect how the general population views the Classical past rivals that of the British Museum and the Louvre. In fact, extended reflections on papal statuary appear in significant works of Anglo-American literature, and photographs of these works of art have been both sold popularly and used in education, including at DePauw University. Thus, to understand the modern public's perception of Ancient Egypt and Classical Antiquity more generally, it is crucial to analyze the Vatican Museums' role in constructing this perception.

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