Virtually explore the Vatican Museums with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
The writhing agony of the Trojan Laocoon made this Hellenistic masterpiece famous throughout history.
The assemblage of objects in the Regolini-Galassi tomb represents a broad geographic range and an aesthetic that indicates the influence of the ancient Near East.
Nothing was more important to a Roman emperor than his image.
Find out why Hermes was recast as the Good Shepherd in early Christianity
This cloth—first woven by a wise spider—sends social messages through a system of specific patterns.
Even in death, great Roman families were concerned with reinforcing and projecting their status.
Ancient Greek athletes cleaned themselves with oil. This sculpture shows one athlete’s bathing ritual.
With age comes experience, and sculptors in the Roman Republic highlighted seniority—warts and all.
Achilles and Ajax, heroes of the Trojan War, break from battle to play a friendly game that hints at a tragic future.
Death, memory, and funerary rituals—monumental tombs lined the streets leading into ancient Roman cities.
Lighting struck this statue dedicated to the Etruscan god of war, marking it as a particularly sacred object.
Spotlight on Christ! Watching this dramatic scene unfold, we become a part of it, as if already inside the tomb.