Posts Tagged With: Michelangelo

Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel

The homestretch of your visit to the Vatican Museum, and one of the most famous masterpieces in the world. This wing of the museum includes works by some of the greatest painters on your way to the Capella Sistina. This winding path takes some time and if the summertime crowds are present it may take even longer. Take a short break perhaps and if you’re traveling with kids make sure nobody needs to use the restroom.


Gallery of Maps and Tapestries

Longer than a football field the Gallery of Maps and Tapestries covers the distance between the main body of the Museum and the Apostolic Palace and St. Peter’s Basilica. To find it on a map will help you to better keep your bearings. Hung on the walls are forty maps completed by Ignazio Danti and commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII. They act as a walking tour of Italian history. Just beyond, is the Gallery of Tapestries, a collection of tapestries from the 15th and 17th centuries.


Room of Constantine

Intended for use as a reception hall, the room is decorated with four events from the life of Constantine including, Vision of the Cross, Battle at Milvian Bridge, Baptism of Constantine and the Donation of Rome. Though this room was planned by Pope Julius II and Raphael it was not executed and completed before the two had died.


Raphael Rooms

Comprised of four stanzas (rooms) the Raphael Rooms were commissioned in 1508/1509 by Pope Julius II. Having secured the services of both Michelangelo and Raphael just down the hall from each other Julius set about decorating his papal apartments with the greatest of the High Renaissance. Although there are many individual pieces throughout the rooms that detail specific moments from the history of the papacy as well as theological iconography a few of the ones that shouldn’t be missed are Parnassus, Fire in the Borgo, Liberation of St. Peter, and the School of Athens seen above.


Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel was restored between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV from whom the Chapel is named. He recruited Renaissance greats such as Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Roselli to decorate the walls. His nephew Pope Julius II entrusted Michelangelo with the ceiling and lunettes in 1508. Michelangelo returned again in 1533 at the behest of Clement VII to paint the Last Judgement on the altar wall. Despite being one of the world’s most famous tourist sites, the Chapel is still very important in the Catholic Church. This is where the Cardinal’s meet during conclave to elect the next Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter. Most won’t need directions to the ceiling and Last Judgement but if you can, find Perugino’s Handing over of the Keys and Botticelli’s Punishment of Korah.

Categories: Art and Architecture, Churches, History, People, The Papacy, Vatican City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Counter Reformation and Baroque Art

Remember Martin Luther and his 95 Theses? He’s responsible for kick-starting the Protestant Reformation throughout Europe. The movement quickly spread to most of Germany the Netherlands and parts of France, so much so that, Pope Paul V and other leaders of the Roman Church (aka Catholic Church) called a meeting known as the Council of Trent, in order to shore up and restore much of their influence in the wake of the Protestant movement.

A major area of contention for the two sides was the use of didactic images, images used to teach. Where Protestant churches were destroying their decorative artwork, Catholic churches amped up their decoration. The Council of Trent decided that art needed to teach and appeal to the audience emotionally. And it needed to be clear.

Church officials took a look at the Mannerist style coming out of Italy at the time. The subjects were ambiguous, overwrought and they needed to go. Artist whose works were caught in the middle of this, like Michelangelo, had to adjust or risk losing their patronage. Michelangelo was in the middle of his Last Judgment when it was decided all his subjects must be fully clothed.

Artists at the time had been moving away from mannerism, seeking forms with greater naturalism. Artists that lead the way into the Baroque Era are Titan, Michelangelo, and the Carracci Brothers.

 Examples of Mannerism

Categories: Art and Architecture, History, The Papacy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at