Giovanni Morello, president of the Foundation for the Artistic Patrimony and Activity of the Church, noted that the exhibition will follow the Pontiff's life "through contemporary photographs, many of them supplied by the photographic service of L'Osservatore Romano, documents and personal effects, loaned both by the Pacelli family and by the 'Famiglia Spirituale Opera.'"
The exhibition will be on display in the Charlemagne Wing off St. Peter's Square from Oct. 21 to Jan. 6.
"[It] begins with the birth of the future Pope -- in Rome on March 2, 1876 -- and follows his
youthful and scholastic activities up to the moment of his
priestly ordination on April 2, 1899," Morello
Young Father Pacelli soon entered the service of the Holy See; he
was consecrated a bishop by Pope Benedict XV in the Sistine Chapel
in 1917, then appointed as nuncio, first in Bavaria (1917-1924) and subsequently in Berlin (1925-1929), at a crucial moment in German history.
On Dec. 16, 1929, Pius XI named him a cardinal and soon afterward appointed him as secretary of state.
The young cardinal thus became the Pope's main collaborator, Morello
said, noting as proof "the corrections and notes Cardinal Pacelli made in preparing some of the most important documents, including the famous encyclical 'Mit brennender Sorge,'" written in 1937 on the German Reich.
"During this period, Cardinal Pacelli made many journeys abroad; he
was the first secretary of state, after many centuries, to travel as papal legate," Morello
mentioned.Among the countries he
visited were Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the United States and France.
An art lover
The exhibition will also cover the events of Pius XII's pontificate, particularly the Second World War, and the Holy See's humanitarian efforts in support of individuals and peoples, including the people of Rome.
"The exhibition, apart from its historical and documentary aspects," Morello
continued, "is also of great artistic interest.Indeed, not everyone is aware that the first nucleus of the modern art collection in the Vatican Museums, later expanded during the pontificate of Paul VI, dates back to an initiative of Pius XII. [...] Ten works from this original nucleus will be on display, including paintings by Carra, De Chirico, De Pisis, Morandi, Rouault, Sironi and Utrillo, as well as a number of sketches presented for the competition for the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica for the Holy Year
"The artistic side of the exhibition is enriched by the presence of various valuable 'gifts' given to Pius XII during his
pontificate, such as the 'Peace' offered by Luigi Einaudi, president of Italy; the precious desk service by Giovanni Valadier, a gift from the city authorities in 1956, and a small table clock given to the Pope by the first personal representative of the U.S.