Three Thousand Years in Nine Days – Day Five

For Day Five I made an online reservation at the Vatican Museums, a great way to avoid the long lineups. Better to spend 4 euros than wait hours in line.

Day Five was a Wednesday and Pope Francis was giving a Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square so I was swimming against the tide heading to the Museums instead of the square.

So much to see in the museums. The Catholic Church and Popes have acquired a lot of ancient Roman artifacts over the centuries.

I think I enjoyed myself most in the Museo Chiaramonti which was filled with an assortment of ancient Romans, many unknown, whose busts have survived the centuries.

82 Bust Gallery

The woman sported the most diverse and interesting hairstyles.

39 Roman Women Busts 21,22,23 45 Roman Busts 8, 7 Faustina the Younger

42 Roman Women 15,16,17,18 70 Roman Women 6,7,8

The men were varied as well, with dignitas and quirkiness on display.

48 Roman Men 13,14,15 49 Roman Men 16,17 50 Roman Man 66 Roman Man

Scattered through other rooms and courtyards were more stunning remnants of the Roman Empire.

Apollo Belvedere 2nd Century

Apollo Belvedere 2nd Century

Laocoon

Laocoon

Tauroctony 2nd Century

Tauroctony 2nd Century

Sarchophagus of St. Helena mid 4th Century?

Sarchophagus of St. Helena mid 4th Century?

One complaint I have about the Vatican Museums is the lack of signage for many of the artifacts. Possibly they don’t have provenance for all of their pieces but some description would be nice.

No lack of provenance for Rafael’s frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of Rafael though. These date from 1508 to 1511.

School of Athens, Rafael

School of Athens, Rafael

I really was impressed by the Sistine Chapel. I saw it 33 years ago and all Michaelangelo’s frescoes had a smoky mutedness. They have been cleaned since and now the colours are vibrant and the paintings have come to life. But since no photo taking is allowed, I have none to offer.

Finally there were Roman mosaics in various rooms and here are some highlights.

Palestrina Mosaic 2nd Century

Palestrina Mosaic 2nd Century

18 2nd Century Palestrina Mosaic

Palestrina Mosaic 2nd Century

Odysseus? 3rd Century Sala Rotonda

Odysseus? 3rd Century Sala Rotonda

1st Century Greek Cross Room

1st Century Greek Cross Room

 

Sala Aldobrandine Mosaic Detail

Sala Aldobrandine Mosaic Detail

After many hours in the museums I finally ventured outside into St. Peter’s Square.

Swiss Guards

Swiss Guards

Into the Basilica.

Michaelangelo's Pieta

Michaelangelo’s Pieta

Then walked home via Castel Sant Angelo.

St. Peter's from Castel Sant Angelo

St. Peter’s from Castel Sant Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo and one of Bernini's angels

Castel Sant Angelo and one of Bernini’s angels

 

 

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