By Matt Conti
Now open in Boston is a new photography exhibition, Life of a Swiss Guard: A Private View. As part of an international tour, the display of the Pontifical Swiss Guard comes from the Vatican Museum. The free exhibit is open to the public, 9-3 daily, through March 25, 2017 at Faneuil Hall on the 4th floor of the historic building, above the Great Hall, in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts Museum.
Photographer Fabio Mantegna has captured in photographs an intimate view of the life of the men who make up the Vatican’s Pontifical Swiss Guard. Over a period of several weeks, he was fully immersed in the daily lives of these men, dedicated to protecting the Supreme Pontiff.
‘Life of a Swiss Guard’, reveals the most photographed military corps in the world in a new light, away from the uniforms and flags. The exhibit was prominently displayed in the Vatican Museums Cortile delle Corazze in Rome this past spring, and was unveiled at Faneuil Hall following a stop in California.
The exhibit features military paraphernalia passed down from generation to generation of this military corps, as well as 80 photographs that unveil the dedication of men who take the oath as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
The Swiss Guard has a historic connection to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston. The AHAC dates back to 1638, making it the third oldest military organization in the world after the Honourable Artillery Company of London (1537) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Swiss Guard (1506) is the oldest chartered military organization in the western hemisphere. AHAC’s charter was granted in March 1638 by the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay and signed by Governor John Winthrop.