14 March 2018, The Tablet

The remarkable woman who heads the Vatican Museums

Joanna Moorhead talks to Barbara Jatta, the most senior woman in the Vatican

The remarkable woman who heads the Vatican Museums

Not many working mothers are required to report their pregnancy to a cardinal; but when Barbara Jatta discovered she was expecting her third child she was working at the Vatican Library, and her boss was a senior prelate. Jatta laughs as she recalls what happened. He was, she says, thrilled to hear the news. “He said, ‘I’d noticed you were unwell, and I was fearing you were very sick.’”

That was in 2001. Jatta had already been working at the library for five years, and she would remain there for a further 15. But then, in 2016, the Rome-born art historian, a specialist in prints and drawings, was offered the deputy directorship of the Vatican Museums. Six months later she got the top job. 

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