The Vatican Museums’ origin can be traced back to an inspiration by a Pope with the help of two artists from a single sculpture. The sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons, was discovered in a vineyard near Santa Maria Maggiore in 1506. At the request of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giuliano da Sangallo viewed the work and recommended that the pope acquire it. Julius II placed this piece with a group of marble sculptures and with that, The Vatican Museums were born. The Laocoön is currently on display in the Octagonal Courtyard in the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museums house collections acquired by the popes over the centuries.
It is often the unseen and unnoticed work of the museum which must continue if the unique spiritual and cultural mission of the Vatican Museums is to flourish.