News & Events

Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness

A Lecture by Carmen Bambach, Ph.D.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

19 July 2019

The Metropolitan Museum of Art observed the 500-year anniversary of the death of the great Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), with its exhibition, “Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint Jerome.”  The painting was lent to The Metropolitan Museum with collegial generosity by The Vatican Museums.

Dr. Bambach presented an elucidating and engaging lecture on Leonardo da Vinci and the place of Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness in his oeuvre.  Leonardo was a seminal figure in the Renaissance, acclaimed as much as an engineer and scientist as he was a painter.  Famous for his iconic masterpieces such as The Adoration of the Magi, the two versions of The Madonna of the Rocks, and of course Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s fame connected to Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness certainly also is a function of the painting’s artistic quality, universally recognized as one of six works unquestionably by the hand of the master.  Yet there are factors that lend the master’s Saint Jerome a certain degree of singularity.  The painting, still unfinished, was worked and re-worked by Leonardo for the last 35-40 years of his life and thus it has come to be appreciated as the epitome of Leonardo’s ongoing research into human anatomy.   In addition, though the subject of Saint Jerome living as a hermit in the wilderness was common in the Renaissance, Leonardo’s Saint Jerome stands alone; the saint is depicted in the throes of intimate, penitential reverie as he gazes upon a crucifix at the moment he is about to commit an act of physical self-abnegation.  Charged as it is with such drama and psychological insight, the painting is a portrait of the saint as much as it is a portrait of Leonardo’s spiritual life during those last decades when the painter carried the work with him wherever he went.

Dr. Carmen Bambach, Curator of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is curator of the exhibition.  She is the author of the recently published 4-volume work, Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered, the fruit of 24 years of research and writing.  She stands as the doyenne of Leonardo studies in the world today.

In Progress: Bramante Courtyard Restoration – See Video Link


The New York Chapter just completed the funding of a $150,000 Chapter grant towards the Bramante Courtyard restoration project.  We invite you to take advantage of multiple gifting opportunities on individual or corporate levels so that you too can become a part of this amazing work.  Four of our board members have stepped up and made contributions totaling $300,000 towards the Bramante Courtyard restoration.  We hope this will inspire you to realize how critical it is to support the restoration of the works at the Vatican Museums.  Please visit the “CONTACT US” page for more details.

Reception at Papal Residence 72nd St., NY

The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos

The Frick Collection Exhibition Tour

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Frick’s Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth, and Jan Vos, by Jan van Eyck and workshop, and The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara and Jan Vos, by Petrus Christus, now in the Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin, were commissioned by Jan Vos in the 1440s during his tenure as prior of the Carthusian monastery (or  charterhouse) of Bruges.  This exhibition brings together these two masterpieces of early Netherlandish painting for only the second time in their history.

The two panels are presented with Carthusian objects that place them in their rich monastic context, offering a glimpse into the visual environment of the charterhouse and highlighting the role that images played in shaping devotional life and funerary practices during the late Middle Ages.

The exhibition is curated by Emma Capron, a doctoral candidate at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and 2016-18 Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow at The Frick Collection.  Ms. Capron led the scholarly and engaging tour of the exhibition for Patrons and friends.

Frick Tour IMAGE

Photo Credit:

Jan van Eyck and Workshop

The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth, and Jan Vos, circa 1441-43

Oil on Panel

8.75 in x  24.25 in

The Frick Collection, New York

Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place

Bard Graduate Center Exhibition Tour

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place is the first large-scale exhibition to provide a broad perspective on the practice and history of votive giving.

Linking the human and spiritual realms, the practice of votive giving is common across cultures.  Almost anything can be transformed into a votive once it is charged with sentiment and meaning through a spiritual act such as prayer or meditation.  Through this process, the votive becomes “activated” as the material representative or agent of the individual’s most private wish or vow.  A rich mix of human dreams and hopes as well as fears and anxieties find tangible form in the votive object.

While some votive objects may be “found objects” having some significant form for the giver, others are made of various modest materials such as clay, wood, metal, and wax either by an individual for personal use or produced for the mass market, and still others can take the form of finely crafted works of art made of precious metals and gems.

This exhibition contains more than 250 objects dating from circa 1,500 BC to the 21st Century.  The objects represent many different traditions and are drawn from museums and private collections from around the world.  This broad selection presents the opportunity to consider the commonalities among votive objects from different societies and time periods.

Dr. Ittai Weinryb, associate professor at The Bard Graduate Center is the show’s chief curator and led the thoroughly engaging tour of the exhibition for Patrons and friends.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 4.57.40 PM

Photo Credit:

Wounded Arm and Leg Votive

Wood, carved and polychromed

Italy, 1850-1950

Rudolf Kriss collection, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich

Photo: Walter Haberland

Gallery: International Chapter Leaders Meeting – Rome 18 September 2018


Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition Tour

Monday, 18 June 2018

Throughout the history of humankind, religions have been influenced by the cultures within which they take root and cultures have been influenced by the religions that flower within them.  Certainly painting, sculpture, and music, in all their distinctive beauty and balance as well as their dissonance and disorder, have been appreciated as art forms contributing to the dynamic dialogue between sacred and secular realms.  Heavenly Bodies  explores the place of  fashion in that dialogue, specifically the longstanding tradition of Catholicism influencing haute couture  and vice-versa.

Having been conceived by Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton, and taken shape in close consultation with Vatican officials over an 8-year period, the exhibition includes more than 40 ecclesiastical vestments and ritual objects from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have not been seen outside the Vatican.  These precious objects of ritual devotion are displayed along with examples of haute couture throughout The Metropolitan Museum’s main Fifth Avenue building and the Cloisters in upper Manhattan.  The opportunity to view these objects in this thought-provoking presentation is an enriching experience for believer and non-believer alike.

The after-hours tour of the exhibition was led by a curator from the Costume Institute on Monday, 18 June 2018.

The Holy Name. Art of the Gesu: Bernini and His Age

Fairfield University Museum of Art Exhibition Tour

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Church of the Gesu in Rome is the mother church of The Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola and given approbation by Pope Paul III in 1540.  The architectural design and adornment of this church is significant in the history of both the Church and Western Art for its embodiment of the spirit of the early Counter-Reformation and the artistic sensibilities informing the dawn of the Baroque era.  This splendid church is nothing less than a crucible of the art, ideas, spirituality, and faith of that dynamic and tumultuous period.

The exhibition, though modest in size, is magisterial in scope and breath taking in quality, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, vestments, and liturgical objects from the church.  Among all the objects on display, perhaps the most significant is the marble portrait bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the greatest sculptors of all time.  Never before having left its lofty niche in the sanctuary of The Gesu,  this luminous sculpture will be able to be seen and examined up close so that its artistic alchemy of power and delicacy may be fully appreciated — surely reason enough to visit this singular exhibition.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Ph.D., the Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator of The Fairfield University Museum of Art, is the curator of the exhibition.  She lead the tour of the exhibition on Sunday, 15 April 2018 for The Patrons.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 4.36.30 PM

Photo Credit:

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian, 1598-1680)

Bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, 1623-24


30.75 in. x 27.5 in. x 19.75 in.

The Church of The Gesu, Rome

Photo: Zeno Colantoni


We mourn the passing of our beloved Chapter President, Mrs. Lee Romanelli.

Lee Romanelli - RIP

It is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums mourn the loss of our beloved President, Mrs. Lee Romanelli.  Under Lee’s steadfast leadership and with the help of the New York Chapter she oversaw the completion of many restoration projects at the Vatican Museums – The Trajan Columns, the Bernini Angels, and at present, Raphael’s Sala di Constantino, to name a few.  She also presided over the funding of an exhibition in 2017 on the “History of the Menorah” at the Vatican in conjunction with the Jewish Museum of Rome and a photographic exhibition at the Sheen Center in New York on “The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View”.  In recognition of Lee’s many years of dedicated service to the Patrons, she was recently presented by the Vatican with The Gian Lorenzo Bernini Award.  We were blessed to have such a devoted leader who gave her heart and soul for the betterment of our Chapter.  She will be deeply missed.

May her memory be eternal!


New York Chapter Board of Directors



ROMANELLI–Lee, of Darien, Connecticut formerly of Sands Point, New York, died on October 26, 2018. She was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 22, 1929. She married Anthony Romanelli, MD on June 19, 1954. He died February 24, 1989. Lee worked as a volunteer for more than 20 years at the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. She was the President of the New York Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums for many years and was honored as a Dame of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Lady Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and as a Dame of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. Lee was awarded the Cross Pro Ecclesia Et. Pontifice from Pope Saint John Paul II and most recently was presented with The Gian Lorenzo Bernini award for her many years of service as President of the New York Patrons. While she dedicated her life to volunteering and working with cultural and charitable organizations, she was foremost a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Lee is survived by her sons, Dr. Vincent (Peggy) Romanelli of Dublin, Ohio, Dr. Michael (Lisa) Romanelli of Dublin, Ohio and her daughter, Gilda (Mark) Haranzo of Darien, Connecticut and seven grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Maisie DePalma. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother, Gerard Montanino, and her beloved grandson, Stephen A. Romanelli. A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Avenue, New York, NY on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 10am. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Stephen A. Romanelli Memorial Fund at or the Inner City Scholarship Fund at

Published in The New York Times on Oct. 31, 2018

The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View

Invitation to "The Life of a Swiss Guard" Exhibit

The New York Chapter of the

Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums

cordially invites you to the Photographic Exhibition

The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View

Exhibition Dates October 5th – 20th

 Dr. Romina Cometti

Curator of the exhibit & Restoration Projects Manager of the Vatican Museums


For more information, E-mail to:   or  Tel: +1.929.290.0030

The Sheen Center

18 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012


Swiss Guard Oct 5 2017 group photo.JPG