The Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are one of the largest museum complexes in the world. Within them are stored many works of art collected by the popes since the Renaissance. When you enter the Vatican Museums you can visit the Cortile della Pigna, which takes its name from the huge bronze Pigna (Pine Cone), from the Roman Age, which is located inside. Originally, the Pine Cone, was a decoration of the fountain of the Roman baths of Agrippa and on either side it has bronze peacocks from the mausoleum of Hadrian. From the courtyard you can admire the beautiful facades of the Vatican Palaces.
The Belvedere Courtyard, however, contains the famous Greco-Roman section that houses many statues acclaimed as the Laoconte and Apollo Belvedere. The Laoconte, dated 50 BC, illustrates an ancient story of a Trojan priest and his two sons who were killed by a sea serpent. This sculpture was very popular especially during the Renaissance, as many artists studied the anatomy. The Apollo Belvedere is so named because it is located in the homonymous Courtyard and represents the greek god Apollo, it is considered the greatest ancient sculpture.
In the Sala delle Muse is located in the Belvedere Torso, a fragment of an ancient statue of Apollonius. This sculpture is famous mainly because Michelangelo studied it for its accurate anatomy. You can see the influence that this sculpture has had on Michelangelo in his fresco of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. The Round Hall hosts many works, including the bust of Zeus, the golden statue of Hercules, Hadrian, and the enormous porphyry basin which originally stood in Nero’s Domuns Aurea. The size of this pool gives visitors an idea of how the famous Roman dictator lived.
The charming Greek Cross shaped Room accommodates two porphyry sarcophagi that belonged to Santa Costanza and Santa Elena, the daughter and the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who legalized Christianity. One sarcophagus represents a battle between the Romans and the barbarians, while the other shows the harvest for the Eucharist wine.
On the upper floor, of the Vatican Museums, is the Candelabra Gallery, which name derives from the magnificent chandeliers from Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. In this gallery there are many ancient Roman copies of Greek statues. The Gallery of Tapestries is very particular, famous for the huge and ancient tapestries commissioned in the sixteenth century by Pope Clement VII to decorate the Sistine Chapel. These tapestries were designed by students of Raphael and woven in Brussels, representing various scenes from the New Testament, such as the Adoration of the Magi, the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Resurrection. To preservation such delicate assets, the room is kept under special climate control.
The interesting Gallery of Maps is a tunnel 120 meters long, it contains 40 panels with topographic maps of various parts of Italy, the realization of which took three years. From the windows of this gallery, visitors can admire the magnificent Vatican Gardens. The Sobieski Room gets its name from the giant painting of the nineteenth century. This painting represents the victory of the Polish king John Sobieski III at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 against the Turks. The Room of the Immaculate Conception was painted, however, in the nineteenth century with frescoes representing the Immaculate Conception. Famous around the world the Raphael Rooms, which were originally the residence of the Pope.
They are almost completely covered with frescoes by masters of the Renaissance from the early sixteenth century:
Stanza della Segnatura – This room was originally the personal library and office of Pope Julius II and was the first that Raphael frescoed. These frescoes are the most famous of all the Raphael Rooms. The 4 main frescoes represent the fusion of classical and Christian themes. “The School of Athens” represents many artists contemporary to Raphael, like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and even Raphael himself.
Stanza di Eliodoro – The frescoes in this room are a kind of propaganda to the Pope, and each of the 4 major paintings include a portrait of Pope Julius II, who had commissioned them. Visitors may notice, in particular,
“Liberation of St. Peter” showing the prince of the apostles and the first pope, featured miraculously rescued from prison by an angel while the guards lie sleeping.
Stanza dell’Incendio di Borgo – The frescoes illustrate the political aspirations and stories from the lives of the Popes named Leo, in every scene the pope is depicted as the reigning Pope Leo X. The frescoes were designed by Raphael and painted by his pupil.
Sala di Costantino – This room, designed for receptions and official ceremonies, was decorated by Raphael’s students, based on drawings of the master, who died prematurely before the end of the work. It is named after Constantine, the first Roman emperor to officially recognize the Christian religion granting freedom of worship, on the walls are depicted four scenes of his life which testify the defeat of paganism and the triumph of the Christian religion.
A very important part of the Vatican Museums is the Sistine Chapel. Built in the fifteenth century, it was decorated with frescoes by famous artists such as Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Michelangelo.
|For more information on how to book entrance tickets to the Vatican Museums, to the St. Peter’s Basilica and to the Vatican Gardens visit the Rome Museum web site or call use at (+39) 055-713655.|
|Available Entrance Tickets, Guided Group Tours, Private Guided Tours.|
|You may also be interested in: Vatican Museums Night Opening – The Catacombs – Titian at the Quirinal Stables|
Schedule. Open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6.00 pm
|Address Viale Vaticano, Vatican City.|