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from issue no. 03/04 - 2012

The exhibition at the Capitoline Museums

by Roberto Rotondo

The act of abjuration of Galileo Galilei and the bull of deposition of the Emperor Frederick II. The Rule of Francis of Assisi and the Bull of canonization of Francis Xavier, a letter of Erasmus of Rotterdam and one of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Lux in arcana more than an exhibition is an immersion in the sources of history. A hundred original documents from the Secret Vatican Archive, selected from codes and parchments, files, records and manuscripts, are exhibited for the first time to the public for about seven months, from March to September 2012, in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

The exhibition, organized to mark the fourth centenary of the founding of the Vatican Secret Archive, wants to explain and recount what the Archive of the popes is and how it works and, at the same time, ‘make the invisible visible’ and allow access to some wonderful documentaries. Some documents of the period to which access is still off-limits to scholars are also shown, namely that of the papacy of Pius XII that contains among other things an account of the massacre at the Fosse Ardeatine, a list that notes the names of priests interned at Dachau, a story of the bombing of St Lawrence Outside the Walls in Rome.

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