Favorite Quote

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel,
read only one page." St. Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rome Day 2 - Vatican Museum

Before I start on our second day in Rome I just want to say since this is Valentine's Day that I am married to the absolute best man in the world.  Ron, you are my best friend, my soul mate, my safe place to land. Every day you show me and tell me how much you love me.  I am the luckiest woman in the world and I want you to know that I love you SO much!!

I think I went overboard on taking pictures here.  I have over 600 of them.  And it will take me over a month just to try and look up information on all of them, so I've whittled them down to my favorite ones and the ones that I could find information on.  But it still will take me too long to keep hunting for the information and my mom is getting antsy for me to post day two ;) so a majority of the pictures will not have descriptions.  I'm sorry about that!  If you happen to see a picture and know the history on it, I will be very happy to take any  help you want to give me for it.

I've been to the Vatican Museum before, but I found out that there was another NATO wife here at the course and she wanted to see the Sistine Chapel so I agreed to go with her.  Unfortunately, you can take pictures everywhere in the museum except the Sistine Chapel so I suggest you go to the link to see it.  There is SO many things in this museum and it would take me forever to show you all of it, so these are just a few of the things I really liked.  And don't worry, if there is something that you like that you don't see, I ended up going back to the Vatican Museum the next week with more friends.

This is the Biga Room. And below is the two horse chariot.  Only the body of the chariot and part of a horse date from the 1st century A..D., the rest is the work of Francesco Antonio Franzoni in the late 18th century.

Everywhere you look, the ceilings are just beautiful!  I think I had a crick in my neck by the time I finished.

The next few pictures are from the Gallery of Tapestries.    The tapestries date from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Gallery of Maps room is next and I really think it is my favorite room in the whole museum.  It gets its name because of the 40 topographical maps that are painted on the walls, forming a huge atlas of 16th century Italy.   On the ceiling geography and history are mixed with religious scenes linked to the regions illustrated below.  The room was built in 1578-1580 by the architect Ottaviano Mascherino.  In 1580 Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni commissioned Girolamo Muziano and Cesare Nebbia to direct a group of painters and stucco artists, including the Flemish landscape painter Paul Bril in the work of decorating it.  It took 3 years to complete.

I am just amazed every time I'm in this room!

Now we come to the Apartment of St. Pius V, pope from 1566 - 1572.  He was proclaimed a saint in 1712 and is most famous as the promoter of the Christian coalition that defeated the Turks at Lepanto in 1571.  It consists of the Gallery, the Chapel and the two small rooms. 

The Gallery contains a number of tapestries from various periods and provenance dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.  The tapestry below is the most valuable and is from a Flemish workshop and is entitled Episodes from the Passion. It shows the Last Supper and it is from the 2nd half of the 15th century.

This one is the Tapestry of the Creed and shows the Baptism of Christ at the center.  It was woven in Flanders in the late 15th century.

Next up is the Sobieski Room.  It once belonged to the Apartment of St. Pius V and it is named for the 19th century painting by Polish artist Jan Matejko that occupies an entire wall.  It represents the victory won by the king of Poland Jan III Sobieski (1624 - 1696) over the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683. I love the rainbow in the picture!

More gorgeous ceilings ...


The "Mute Swans of Peace" presented to Pope Paul VI by the Diocese of New York.

I love this door!

A reminder that Christ is the Good Shepherd. 

I think I need this for my house!

Ohhhh .... and that vase will go perfectly with our German porcelain!!!

More beautiful ceilings!

 After lunch we take a quick look outside at the gardens. 

 And look!  There is St. Peter's Basilica!

After lunch we head to the Pinacoteca.  It has over 500 paintings, spanning the history of art in the western world from the 12th - 19th centuries.  It also contains Primitives and the Byzantine icons which had been in the Vatican Library, masterpieces from the altars of St. Peter's Basilica and the Lateran Pinacoteca.

A nativity!  I'm not sure if it is always here or if it's just here because it is January.

This is Wenzel Peter's Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It was painted in 1830.

Guido Reni's Crucifixion of St. Peter from 1604.

The masterpiece of this section of the museum is Caravaggio's The Deposition from 1604.  It shows the moment when Christ is deposed from the Cross, his body laid on a great stone to be washed and anointed with perfume.

 Raffaellino del Colle's Adoration of the Magi.

Giovanni Bellini's Pieta from 1471-1474 shows the dead Christ, his body resting on the edge of the tomb, supported by Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.

Leonardo da Vinci's unfinished painting of St. Jerome done in 1480.  This painting portrays Saint Jerome in the Syrian desert where he lived the life of a hermit.  He is kneeling gazing toward a crucifix which you can't see with my picture.  It shows him with a rock in his right hand which he is traditionally shown beating his chest in penance.  At his feet is a lion which became a loyal companion after he extracted a thorn from its paw.  The lion, the stone and a cardinal's hat are the traditional attributes of the saint.

Raphael's Madonna of Foligno painted between 1511-1512.  It depicts the donor (Foligno Sigismondo dei Conti) genuflecting, presented by St. Jerome to the Virgin Mary in heaven with the Christ child, seated on clouds and surrounded by little angles.  At his home in Foligno, Sigismondo had escaped being struck by lightening.  This scene appears in the background of the landscape.  On the left are St. John the Baptist and St. Francis.

 Raphael's Transfiguration painted between 1517-1520.  This painting represents Christ on Mt. Tabor.  Jesus appears transfigured before his disciples, flanked by the prophets Elijah and Moses in heaven.  Below, the Apostles are trying to help a child possessed by devils, supported by relatives begging for their assistance.

Next up is a room full of HUGE tapestries.  If I remember correctly, this is a tapestry done based on Da Vinci's Last Supper.

Melozzo da Forli's Sixtus IV and Platina painted in 1477.Pope Sixtus IV is shown appointing Bartolomeo Sacchi, known as il Platina, as the first prefect of the Vatican Library.  The other figures are the Protonotary Apostolic Raffaele Riario, nephew of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II, Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, and Giovanni della Rovere.

Below is Melozzo da Forli's Head of Apostles and Musical Angels from  1480.  The fourteen fragments come from the Ascension of Christ, a fresco destroyed in 1711.

Well, it's Valentine's Day and I've been working on this page for almost 6 hours.  Hubby just got  home so I think I will save the rest of the pictures for another day.  But just to show you that there is much more to Rome than museums, I am showing you some of the pictures I took coming back from the Vatican to the hotel.  Not really sure what things are, but it's a beautiful day in Rome.

Leaving the Vatican behind ...

Good bye St. Peter's Basilica!  I'll see you later!

Getting ready to go over the bridge on the Tiber River.

The Victor Emmanuel Monument

And for dinner I should have paid attention to where we ate, but I walked over 20 miles that day!!  I was tired.  I just wanted carbs and my bed.  It sure was delicious though!

More later .... I want to spend time with my Valentine!


  1. It was like being back inside the museum with you, walking through the tapestry room, the map room and gazing above at the unending ceiling of unbelievable artwork! I want to go back (without sore feet and aching back) - I was a bit distracted and would have liked to spend a lot more time there than just taking the short route like we had to that day. Michael is studying World History for 9th grade and we have discussed these artists and are now up to the explorers and the new world. It made me wonder if there were turkeys there when the painting was done as a result of the explorers bringing them back to the old world when the painting was done in the 18th century. I like it when school meshes with things I see now like your wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing!

  2. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
    The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

  3. Thank you for your sharing. I was at Vatican Museum last month and am now trying to figure out where did I take the pictures (they are so many, you know), why did I take them and the story related to them. Your blog helps me a lot. I agree with you. Even though this is my third visit over a span of more than 40 years, I am still overwhelmed by the awesome beautiful exhibits in the Museum. I am still puzzled by the question, "How did and could they do it?"