Vatican Museum is one of the most important Museum in the world housing very important masterpieces from Egyptian Age to late Renaissance.
Deservedly one of the most famous places in the world, the Sistine Chapel is the site where the conclave for the election of the popes and other solemn pontifical ceremonies are held. Built to the design of Baccio Pontelli by Giovannino de Dolci between 1475 and 1481, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned it. It is a large rectangle with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and it is divided into two unequal parts by a marble screen. The screen and the transenna were built by Mino da Fiesole and other artists.
The frescoes on the long walls illustrate parallel events in the Lives of Moses and Christ and constitute a complex of extraordinary interest executed between 1481 and 1483 by Perugino, Botticelli, Cosimo Rosselli and Domenico Ghirlandaio, with their respective groups of assistants, who included Pinturicchio, Piero di Cosimo and others; later Luca Signorelli also joined the group.
The barrel-vaulted ceiling is entirely covered by the famous frescoes which Michelangelo painted between 1508 and 1512 for Julius II. The original design was only to have represented the Apostles, but was modified at the artist's insistence to encompass an enormously complex iconographic theme which may be synthesized as the representation of mankind waiting for the coming of the Messiah. More than twenty years later, Michelangelo was summoned back by Paul III (1534-49) to paint the Last Judgement on the wall behind the altar. He worked on it from 1536 to 1541.
Collection of modern religious art
The collection includes Hundreds of paintings, sculptures, engravings and designs donated to the Holy See by private individuals and, in some cases, by the artists themselves. Housed in 55 different rooms, the exposition was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1973. The itinerary begins in the Borgia Apartment, named for Alexander VI, who had the room decorated with the now famous frescoes, most of which are the work of either Pinturicchio or his students.
The collection includes works of Ottone Rosai, Auguste Rodin, Carlo Carrà, Mario Sironi, Aligi Sassu, Renato Guttuso, Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin, Maurice Utrillo, Giorgio Morandi, Filippo de Pisis, Henry Moore, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Braque, Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Giorgio De Chirico, Jacques Villon, Bernard Buffet, Oskar Kokoschka, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Diego Velasquez, etc.
Museum of Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI
In the Palazzetto of Belvedere the visitor finds Greek and Roman sculptures like the Apollo Belvedere (a Roman copy from the original Greek sculpture, 130-140 A.D.), the famous group of Laocoön by Agesander, Polydorus and Athanodorus, the statue of Hermes (copied during Hadrian's reign from an original Greek bronze of 4th century B.C.), the colossal statue of Antinous (photo), and moreover the Canova's Cabinet, the Gallery of Statues, the Room of the Animals, etc.
It consists of steleae and inscriptions from various ages, sarcophagi and mummies, Roman statuary (from the first and second century A.D.) designed to imitate or interpret the forms and aesthetics of Egyptian statuary, protohistoric and Roman ceramics, cuneiform tablets and mesopotamic seals, assirian bas-reliefs from the palaces of Sargon the IInd (722-705 B.C.) and Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) in Nineveth.
Missionary museum of ethnology
The material is vast and various and is presented according to didactic principles so as to document the religious cult of the various civilisation which have flourished in other continents over an enormous span of time, from centuries before the coming of Christ right up to our times.
Gregorian museum of profane art
The special building constructed to house the museum (founded by Gregorius XVI in 1844) runs parallel to the Pinacoteca and was opened in 1970. The works are arranged according to didactic criteria, liberated as far as possible from arbitrary integration and excessive restorations. The four sections contain Roman copies and re-elaboration of Greek originals, Roman sculptures of repubblican and early imperial periods, sarcophagi, later Roman sculptures.
It was founded by Pope Pius VII (Chiaramonti) and includes: the Corridoio (Corridor), the Galleria Lapidaria and the Braccio Nuovo (New Side). In the Corridor, divide into 60 sections, is an interminable series of statues, busts, sarcofhagi, reliefs, etc: about 800 Greek-Roman works. In the Galleria Lapidaria there are over 5000 pagan and Christian inscriptions. In the Braccio Nuovo, the Statue of Augustus of Prima Porta, the Group of the Nile and the Doriforos, deserve particular attention.
Vatican picture gallery
The Vatican Picture Gallery was founded by Pope Pius VI (1775-99). Only in 1932 was a permanent site established in a building commissionated by Pius XI (1922-39) from a design by the architect Luca Beltrami.
The gallery includes works of Giotto, Gentile da Fabriano, Beato Angelico, Perugino, Pinturicchio, Leonardo, Tiziano, Guercino, van Dyck, Poussin, etc.
Founded in 1854 by Pius IX in the Lateran Palace to house the Christian antiquities found during the excavations of the catacombs, the Museo Pio Cristiano was transferred to the Vatican in 1963.
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