Vatican City Art and Architecture Nestled on the burial spot of St Peter this absolutely gorgeous town is the pinnacle of religious art and architecture. Being at the center of the Catholic religion there is little doubt that this spot is the center of some of the most breathe taking religious artifacts. The Vatican city is home of the Pope and the center for some of the most well known churches in the world, one being the sistine chapel. Art is very abundant in this very historic city. It is hard to turn a corner without seeing some sort of breathe taking art.
Although the art and sculpture in vatican city is not easily matched the architecture is the visual spectacle of this town. Among some of the greatest churches in the world is the sistine chapel and the art that lives on its ceiling. “The Sistine Chapel was a private chapel for the Pope in rome. this magnificent church one of the many glories that Vatican City claims. It was built in 1473 under Pope Sixtus the Fourth. Although this chapel is known for its marvelous decorations the center piece is the work done by famous painter Michelangelo. (Legasse, 2000) “Even though Michelangelo has the most famous painting in the Sistine Chapel he was not the only painter that worked on this gorgeous chapel. The original painter was Piero Matteo d’Amelia. He painted the ceiling where the famous Michelangelo would later repaint it. When Michelangelo was called upon to paint the ceiling he was hard at work on the Pope’s very own tomb. When he began his work he was asked to paint only twelve Apostles but as time went by he went crazy and ended up painting more than three hundred figured.
This unbelievably detailed painting took him more than four years and was completed in 1512. Michelangelo was later called back in his sixties to paint the Last Judgement. In recent decades the environment has taken its tole on these paintings and has been restored to keep this a very prominent part of vatican history. A large part of the chapel is the Wall Frescoes. This wall consists of portraits of twenty-eight early Popes that died as martyrs. ” (Hayes, 2010) “Michelangelo is given credit for The Last Judgment that is seen on the alter wall of the chapel. (Legasse, 2000) “His full name is Michelangelo Buonarroti and his name has been synonymous with greatness and masterpiece. During his time period it was very uncommon for an artist to be recognized for his art that is why he was unique. His work was so breathe taking that it was recognized by many as being “genius”. He was the second of five brothers and was born in 1475 in Tuscany. Michelangelo wanted to be a painter from an early age but when he brought it to his father he father was out raged by this. In that time period artists were seen as laborers and his father saw him as much more than that.
Buonarroti had his intelligence noticed and was sent to a school where he learned his grammar. While studying in school he met a fellow student that was studying art. This student encouraged Michelangelo to follow his dreams and not to let any one tell him that he can not do it. Buonarroti’s father was a minor official in the town and was determined to keep his family’s name from being tarnished by the fact that Michelangelo wanted to become a painter, but with no success Michelangelo, at the age of thirteen, set out to become an apprentice in a sculpture workshop. his was the start of the career of one of the most famous painters in history. ” (Bonner, 2001) Probably one of Michelangelo’s best pieces was that of The Last Judgment that can been seen on the alter wall of the Sistine Chapel. “This masterpiece that has been marveled by many was painted between 1536 and 1541. This piece was centered around christ right after the last judgment was spoken. ” (Console, 2010) “This piece of work depicts the second coming of christ and is very large in scale.
Although Michelangelo gained a lot of his ideas from the bible he did put a lot of himself into this painting. ” (Finnan, 2010) Although the Sistine Chapel is a beauty of the Vatican so is Apostolic Palace. This palace is the residence of the Pope. It is also known to many as the Sacred Palace. “This large palace is not only the residence of the Pope but it is also home to many of the government offices. Also among the things compiling the palace is several chapels and the Vatican Library. This place all in all holds over a thousand rooms including the famous Sistine Chapel. ” (Martin, 2010)
Moving on from the typical structures of architecture, comes one of the spectacular sites that can be seen from the outside. This site is St. Peter’s Square and is located right in front of the Apostolic Palace. “This gorgeous square is also known as the Basilica. The Basilica is also the combination of all of the buildings around the square. The square is made up of two hundred and eighty-four columns that are thirteen meters tall and was designed by Bernini. These magnificent columns surround several prominent objects such as the Obelisk which sits in the very center of the square.
This structure is twenty-three meters high and was sent from egypt in thirty-seven BC for and emperors circus and It has been there ever since. On both sides of this structure is the fountains made by Carl Maderno in 1613. These fountains were built for the sole purpose of symmetry. In between both of the fountains and the Obelisk is the Centro del Colonnato. These are white marble disks that symbolize the centers of each colonnade. At the end of the colonnade on the right side is the Bronze Doors. These doors lead to the Apostolic Palace and always have Swiss Guard stationed at the door.
At the very end of the square sits two very famous statues. The statue of St. Peter is sitting on the left side and St. Paul on the right. On Easter in 1947 these statues replaced older smaller statues of the same people. The building that sits directly in front of the square is St. Peters Dome. This Dome was design by Michelangelo and has three hundred and twenty steps to get to its doors and has the best view of the square. At the front of this large dome is the Loggia of the Blessings. This is the spot where the new Pope is announced. ” (Harvey, 2010)
Rivaling the square in both size and relevance is the St. Peter Cathedral. St. Peter’s is the largest Catholic church in the world. This cathedral had the touch of some of the most inspirational artists of all time including Michelangelo, Bramante, and Raphael. The construction of this massive cathedral was constructed over three centuries; fifteen, sixteen, and seventeenth century. This Cathedral is home to the Dome of Michelangelo and sits on the edge of St. Peters Square. Holding the treasures of this holy country and the past of Catholicism is the Vatican Museum. This museum started off very small being made up of only a few sculptures collected by Pope Julius the second. These statues were collected during the early fifteen hundreds and were placed in what now is called the Cortile Ottagono. Popes were among the first royalty that opened their art collection to the public. This helped to promote art history and culture to others. The Vatican Museum is made up of several museums and art galleries. One of the bigger museums is the Pio Christian Museum which holds some very famous sculptures.
Even though most of the museum is made up of sculptures and ancient writing, there is one part that is made up of fifteenth to seventeenth century tapestry. This part of the museum is called the Gallery of Tapestry. In a new building that is next to the new entrance is the Missionary-Ethnological Museum. This Museum was founded by Pius XI in 1926 it contains the Lateran collection. It was closed for a long time and was recently re-opened to the public. In 1973 the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art was added tot he Borgia Apartment by Pope Paul Vi.
The Last main place in this museum was recently opened in 1973 and houses a series of papal portraits. ” (Console, 2010) The Vatican City is famous among many as the sacred city for Catholics all over the world. It is home of the Pope and several other very prominent people in the Catholic church and is no stranger to Controversy over the last few years, but no matter what is going on in the church this is a safe refuge from everything that is going on in the outside world. It is one of the most gorgeous places in the world and is definitely a travel location on my list.
Even though this place is greatly revered as a religious center point it does not just hold the word of god it holds some of the greatest structures and paintings in the world. This country has been blessed with the brush strokes from some of the greatest hands in the world Michelangelo and Bramante. I do not think there is any argument to the fact that this is the center point of religious art. Bibliography Console, Ester. “Vatican Museums – Official Web Site. ” Musei Vaticani – Sito Ufficiale. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. . Lagasse, Paul. The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Print. Neil R.
Bonner, ed. , Michelangelo Buonarroti website, 14 December 2001, Michelangelo. com, Inc. , (29 febuary 2009), Early Life. Finnan, Vincent. “Last Judgement, Michelangelo’s Sistine Masterpiece. ” Italian Renaissance Art. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. . Martin, J. “Apostolic Palace Rome. ” Wikimapia – Let’s Describe the Whole World! Web. 17 Nov. 2010. . Harvey, James. “St. Peter’s Square & Basilica – Map. ” St. Peter’s Basilica. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. . Hayes, Holly. “Sistine Chapel – Rome, Italy. ” Sacred Sites at Sacred Destinations – Explore Sacred Sites, Religious Sites, Sacred Places. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .