AFP Photo / Vincenzo PintoThe Vatican has put a catalogue of the Italian Catholic Church’s artistic heritage online. It features 3.5 million objects, from paintings to crucifixes and ornaments, belonging to thousands of Italy’s churches in hundreds of dioceses. The project is a collaboration between the Church and the State which started 16 years ago, with initial funding of around €51.6m, The Art Newspaper reported. The Church hopes the
database could help in the recovery of works if they are stolen. Thousands of pieces are still to be catalogued in some dioceses, including Florence and Naples.The database will include items belonging to some of Italy’s 63,773 churches in 216 dioceses. It will be regularly updated and is to be expanded to feature the Church’s architectural heritage as well as literary archives.Users are invited to search by artist, object, by subject matter, diocese and date range. Experts have already come across several flaws in the system, however.“It’ll be years before this task is complete,” art historian at Università Federico II in Naples, Tomaso Montanari, told The Art Newspaper. “It’s an enormous job and it’s still rough around the edges, but anything that promotes the knowledge and preservation of the Church’s artistic heritage can only be good for the country,” he said, adding that “catalogued items will now be harder to sell on the black market”.
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