On 14 January 1506, the Laocoon was discovered in a vineyard near the Baths of Titus on the Colle Oppio hill in Rome. The sculptural group shows the Trojan priest Laocoon who, against the will of Athena and Poseidon, was opposed to allowing the wooden horse given by the Greeks within the walls of Troy. Two giant sea snakes wrapped around him and his two sons, killing all of them and thus marking the destiny of the city and prophesyzing the founding of Rome. The sculptural group was immediately purchased by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) who moved it to the Vatican. Years later, in the Courtyard of the Statues (today the Octagonal Courtyard), a group of some of the most important ancient sculptures were displayed and they had a profound influence on the artistic culture of the fol-lowing centuries. The Laocoon was one of the most studied and copied works from the Renaissance onwards. As a 'founding' and fundamental work of art of the Vatican Museums, it has been chosen as the subject of a series of stamps to commemorate the 500 years since the founding of the Vatican Museums.