September 21, 2010

A Whirlwind in Europe - Vatican (Day 7)

The Vatican was one of the most tremendous experiences of my life. Not only was it a religious pilgrimage for this Roman Catholic, it was also an artistic pilgrimage as an artist. The only word I could found was awestruck and speechless. So for most of this travel log, I will just let the pictures do most of the talking.

Tip: Again, it was worth every extra dollar to purchase a ticket online. The Vatican Museums opens at 8am. At 8am, the line was already 2 hours long for the ticket office. EVERYONE has the same idea to line up early…so it doesn’t work! With an online ticket, all I had to do was to show it to the ticket collector and there was absolutely no waiting!

Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities inside the Vatican Museum.

Painted ceilings

Wall-sized tapestries in the Room of Tapestries.

The next room was the Galleries of Maps

The maps were okay. They looked so yellow because the entire ceiling of the gallery was gold painted! Every inch of the ceiling was filled with art…painting, woodwork or sculptures.

A few more tapestries that was hung in the pope’s residence…

Passed another small room with a painted dome ceiling…

To the Sobieski Room…

Into the Room of the Immaculate Conception.

The next few rooms contained some of the most famous frescos in the world…the Raphael Rooms.

The Baptism of Constantine

One of the paintings on the ceilings…the perspective, light, human form, depiction of atmosphere...I learned about it in my art course...but to see it in person, it is truly a masterpiece.

The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, Stanza di Eliodoro

Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, Stanza della Segnatura

The School of Athens, Stanza della Segnatura

Fire in the Borgo, Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo

The Coronation of Charlemagne, Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo

Continue along the hallways, it led to the staircase to the Sistine Chapel…

Really…does this need any introduction? By Michelangelo?

The artwork was exquisite! You could tell the attention to details Michelangelo has planned for this enormous painting. Every angle was considered depicting the perspective and lighting. The painted sculptures and human figures came out of the 2-dimensional surface. They in fact looked to leap off the ceilings!

I couldn’t get a good picture of the fresco on the side of the chapel due to the sunlight shining too close to the fresco and it was impossible to get the right exposure.

After the Sistine Chapel, there were hallways after hallways of this…

…and these…

This stained glass was especially beautiful.

Then we entered the Pinacoteca with its many paintings.

All of a sudden, you stepped into a dark room with this magnificent piece.

And the Garden of Eden…

At the end, I exited into the foray with a spectacular spiral staircase. I waited 20 minutes before the timing was right to shoot this staircase without anyone on the steps (they were all hidden in this picture!)

Following the Vatican Museum, it was a short stroll to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Time to enter the Basilica…

Pieta by Michelangelo

More inside the Basilica…

Outside, the Vatican Guards stood vigilant

After a full morning and early afternoon at the Vatican, I was officially oozing with art. This was my last day of personal travel and it was a very fitting end to my wonderful Euro tour. At 6pm, I had an overnight sleeper train to catch that would take me from Rome to Paris. The train would arrive in Paris 2 hours later than scheduled and it was a dash finish to catch my connecting train to Vannes…but that’s another story to tell.

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