A woman is running the Vatican Museums for the first time in their 500-year history. One year ago, Pope Francis appointed the 56-year-old Italian art historian, Barbara Jatta, to manage the papal collections, which contain a staggering quarter-million objects and attract some six million visitors each year.
The Catholic Church is a notoriously male-dominated institution, but the Vatican appears to be undergoing a clandestine revolution. Nearly one-fifth of the people working in the tiny papal state are now women, many of them holding responsible positions, and Pope Francis is pushing ahead with the power shift. For centuries the Church has availed itself of art to proclaim its message. Now the pope has appointed a woman to take charge of the conservation and presentation of the Vatican’s art collections. As the German weekly, Die Zeit, commented: "That makes Barbara Jatta more powerful than some cardinals.”