The Asian Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums (APAVM) was legally incorporated in Singapore on 28 December 2015. The journey that led to its founding began in 2014 when founding Chairman Ben Chang was introduced to the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums (PAVM). In May 2016, the first batch of mainly Singapore patrons made the first ever Asia Patrons visit to the Vatican and Rome. The Asia Chapter was thereafter formally launched in Singapore in July 2016 at the inaugural APAVM dinner held at the Singapore National Gallery. Today, APAVM has branch operations in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Asian Patrons of the Arts in The Vatican Museums
What we do
The Vatican Museums, the oldest art museum in the world, was founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II and comprise a vast collection of priceless works of art, monuments and the buildings of the Vatican.
Patrons contribute to the conservation and restoration of the Vatican Museum’s collection, which is truly eclectic, comprising art from all over the world and from various religious traditions.Patron donations to the Vatican museums are derived from annual subscriptions and specific donations for special projects.
All art deteriorates over time and will be in need of restoration, which in the Vatican is carried out in 7 specialised restoration laboratories, each manned by a team of expert restorers:
- Tapestries and textiles
- Painting and wood materials
- Stone materials
- Metals and ceramics
- Ethnological materials
The Vatican museums classifies non-European art under ethnological art. These works are created from materials not found in European art, hence there is an ethnological materials laboratory for their restoration.
Scientific research and technology in combination with the restorers’ artistry transform aged and decaying art pieces back to their original beauty in these laboratories. All the prodigious work that goes into art restoration requires funding, which is where the donations from Patrons come in.
APAVM has contributed to the restoration of many art pieces and special structural projects.
Mention must be made of 2 restoration projects that were sponsored by APAVM: A painting of the Great Wall on silk and a red lacquer set from the parlour of the Empress Cixi. This painting and 2 vases from the red lacquer set were displayed at a special exhibition in the Forbidden City in May 2019. APAVM is very happy to have played a small role in the soft diplomacy between the Holy See and Beijing.
Events and Visits to the Vatican
Since its inception, APAVM has organised numerous local events and overseas trips for the patrons and friends which are popular and well received because of their high educational and entertainment value.
Local events are held in Asian cities, and when these were not possible because of the Covid-19 pandemic, APAVM adapted and produced the online lecture series which were very well received.
The ultimate highlight of being a patron is the APAVM trip to the Vatican itself, which is always paired with a side trip to another destination. Guided by experts in art history and archaeology, the exquisite beauty of the fine art displayed in the galleries of the Vatican, and also of monuments, churches and palaces located elsewhere, become more palpable when placed within the context of its history and culture.
A special privilege that Patrons enjoy is the evening tour of the Vatican museums after it is closed to the public. Our visit takes us through different galleries including the Raphael Rooms and culminates in the Sistine Chapel, where we are allowed to linger unhurried, and lose ourselves in the genius of Michelangelo. A black-tie dinner within the Vatican museums, replete with live music, wraps up the unforgettable evening.
The contributions of the Patrons worldwide make an impact on the Vatican’s art collection, which is for the enjoyment and evangelisation of all, a mission of the Vatican Museum. APAVM is proud to be part of this mission.