Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Vatican Museum

Adam and Eve in the Garden by Peter Wenzel

Adam and Even in the Garden...seems like a good place to begin our post about the Vatican Museum.  The museum is 500 years old and has collections spanning 5000 years of human history.  It is magnificently overwhelming - sort of like the Louvre.  It is too huge to appreciate in one visit (or maybe even ten) all that this museum offers.  We've put together a few photos to give you an idea of the grandeur of the building and its collections.  Ranging from Egyptian mummies to ancient glass, from paintings to sculpture and maps, Greek vases and tapestries, it just goes on and on from the grandest ceilings to the simplest pottery, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.

As if that isn't enough, after touring the museum you come to the Sistine Chapel. The personal chapel of the Pope, Michelangelo spent four years painting his depiction of life up to the time of Jesus.  If there is a word more magnificent than magnificent, more overwhelming than overwhelming, than it describes the Sistine Chapel.  (Alas, photographs are not allowed in the chapel.)  All we can say is that if you are ever in Rome be sure to make a reservation and spend a day at the Vatican.  You won't be disappointed.

Ceiling detail from the Hall of the Muses

Wealthy families would commission small religious paintings for their homes.
This piece is about 18 inches tall.  There are dozens of examples in the Vatican's Iconography collection.

It is hard to believe that glass could survive from the first century.

Although this simple pottery pales in comparison to the more elaborate pieces in the Vatican's collections,
they are some of the oldest items in the museum.  From Syria - Palestine they date to 8500 B.C. - 3000 B.C. 

The Belvedere Apollo
Brought to the Vatican by Pope Julius II in 1508.

The ceilings in the Vatican Museum are works of art in their own right.
This is a depiction of Scenes from the Life of Moses and Aron painted between 1561-1563.
Pius IX had his coat of arms added to the work at a later date.

This simple elegant room houses the Greek pottery collection.  

Examples of the intricate floor mosaics - each piece of tile is less than one half inch square.

Sculpture abounds in the museum, including an entire hall devoted to animals.

The Gallery of Maps, created in 1581, is 120 meters in length.

The last three photos are from a group of four rooms called the Rafael Rooms.  (Not all were painted by Rafael so the name is a bit misleading...) These rooms were the personal living quarters for the popes of the Renaissance.

Rafael Rooms

The Constantine Room was painted by Rafael (and his assistants) in the 16th century. 

Ceiling detail from the Rafael Rooms.

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