Precious antiquities: The Profane Museum at the time of Pius VI

The Vatican Museums recreates the charm of an 18th-century papal collection at the recently-renovated Profane Museum, a room at the Vatican Museums housing gold, silver, bronze, copper and ivory artefacts displayed in Brazil wood cabinets belonging to Pius VI. The original collection goes on show together for the first time in over 200 years, reunited as it was during the time of Pius VI, before the Napoleonic requisitions. A highlight of the exhibition of precious antiquities is the Gonzaga Cameo, a Hellenistic artefact depicting Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his wife Arsinoë, which was acquired by Pius VI but later seized by Napoleon who gave it to Josephine Beauharnais. She gave it to the Tsar Alexander II of Russia and it subsequently ended up at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. It is now on temporary loan to the Vatican from the Hermitage. Sala delle Nozze Aldobrandine, Vatican Museums, www.museivaticani.va.