Today we have a four hour tour of the Vatican at 8am. It takes at least an hour to get there from our apt. There are only 6 people on our tour. Our guide is very knowledgeable. First impressions!
We first visited the art museums. Here is just a tiny fraction of what we saw. The one below is a mosaic that they tried to move - and not a great job.
This is a beautiful rendition of this common theme as it shows common life.
We saw several paintings like this - where the artist tried to show 2 different scenes and tie them together. This one is done well. The top show the ascension of Christ. The bottom is also from the Bible and tells the story of the son who is very ill and the family has traveled far to bring him to Christ for healing, only to discover that he is no longer on the earth. The heavenly light shines on the boy as he reaches out to God and he is healed. The stories are not related at all - but the artist has tied them together.
A view of Rome from a Vatican window.
This is a very famous statue - which I have forgotten the name. The father and his two sons are being attracted. The son on the left is already dead, the one on the right looks pleadingly on his father to save him. But it is too late.
A typical mosaic from this time period.
I just liked this guys weird expression.
One ceiling was painted completely in this style. It looks like it is in relief - but really it is all flat. Not sure how they do it, but I want one painted in my house.
The large courtyard in front of the papal palace.
The balcony where the new pope is announced and gives his first appearance.
St Peter's Basilica.
The Pietra. The art of this era was meant to show perfection not reality. So Mary is shown as a young women - when she would have been over 50. She easily holds her son - though a man of 33 would have been quite heavy. Her lap looks huge to accommodate his body. Michelangelo was only in his 20's when he created this. People in his day did not believe anyone so young could create so much beauty. To prove he had made it he signed it after the statue was finished. According to our guide this was very risky, as doing this could have caused all kinds of cracks which would have destroyed the whole work. You can't really see it here, but his signature is across her bodice. These two figures were made from one large slab of marble.
This basilica is enormous. Look at the size of one of the pillars that supports the extremely high roof.