Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The last time I was in the Vatican Museums was 1971, until last Thursday. During 1970-71 I was living in Rome and enrolled at the Rome Center of Loyola University of Chicago as a 3rd year university student. Last week there was a grand reunion representing all classes who have attended the Rome Center and this occasion opened the door for an "after hours" private tour. 150 of us visited parts of the Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

Apollo Belvedere
Marble copy of a lost bronze original
made between 350 and 500 BC

This was one of the artworks looted from Rome by Napoleon and formed part of the collection of the Louvre. After the fall of Napoleon, the Apollo was repatriated to the Vatican.

The Belvedere Torso
Traditionally identified as Hercules from the 1st century BC

Legend has it that Pope Julius II requested that Michelangelo Buonarotti complete the statue fragment with arms, legs and a face. He respectfully declined, stating that it was too beautiful to be altered, and instead used it as the inspiration for the majority of the figures in the Sistine Chapel.

A nearly empty Sistine Chapel

2 comments:

Willym said...

It really is an experience to see it without the crowds isn't it?

Shari said...

Woooow! What an experience! Almost worth the 29 year wait.