Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Vatican Museum & St. Peters

The Vatican City is the smallest nation in Europe, and the continent’s only absolute autocracy. Surprisingly - since we spent the morning walking through and around the papal city - it covers only 106 acres. Its artistic treasures are amazing. We took a cab from our hotel to the Vatican and with our online reservations were allowed into the Vatican Museums before the official opening hour of 9 AM. Walking through long corridors of painted maps, tapestries, Egyptian papyri, Greco-Roman statues and much more, we headed toward the express route to the Sistine Chapel to beat the crowds. That is not easy in August, and seems more impossible than ever. However, the famed capella was not very crowded when we arrived and Jim took some forbidden photos of Michelangelo’s celebrated ceiling frescoes, depicting scenes from the Old Testament Book of Genesis. It’s easier to see his “Last Judgment” over the altar, but such works as the “God Creating Man,” “The Temptation and Expulsion” and others are worth the effort of craning one’s neck to look upward. His power and simplicity are in a class all their own. After also viewing the Raphael Stanze (or rooms) and the Picture Gallery, we left the Museums to walk around the Vatican to reach the line for the Basilica of St. Peter’s. Jim photographed the “Pieta” by Michelangelo and also Bernini’s “Monument to Pope Alexander VII,” his last work inside the church. (See photos.) After lunch near the Piazza del Popolo, we returned for a rest to the hotel. Later in the afternoon Dan went to the Barberini Palace to see works by Holbein, Caravaggio and many others, including the prolific Bernini. When one sees works by Caravaggio and Bernini, you know that they were geniuses on a level head and shoulders above all their contemporaries.-Dan

No comments: