Monday, June 20, 2011


June 4...We are in Italy. I am having such a time accessing my research for the "birthday artists" that I have decided to forego them for the time being and post information about the artists and historical/cultural things I experience. When we return at the end of June I will upload the birthday information for each day in case anyone is interested in going back and reading that. SO...about today...

We set out early on the subway for Vatican City. Got to see two of my dreams, the Sistine Chapel ceiling (Michelangelo) and The School of Athens (Raphael). The ceiling is breathtaking! The work is so clear, even from below, the restoration has made such an improvement in the color clarity. The section I love the most is still the Creation of Man, where God brings Adam to life with the touch of a finger.

I was also very excited when Craig pointed out Michelangelo's self portrait in the rag clutched in the Last Judgement above the altar.

The Raphael Room was amazing as well. I did not realize The School of Athens was a fresco and not a canvas painting.

A fresco is the application of pigment on wet plaster, creating a bond that makes the painting actually part of the wall. It is newly restored and quite captivating. The room depicts 4 themes (one on each wall) Philosophy (School of Athens), Theology, Judgement, and Poetry. Each theme was distinct and fairly recognizable once you really studied the content. Of course various minds are represented in The School of Athens: Socrates, Plato, Copernicus, Goethe, etc...he even included his great rival Michelangelo!

Taking the subway back to our hotel, we got off on a whim to see the Piazza di Spagna, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. The fountain is fed by aqueducts and the force of the flowing water allows it to spew out of the spouts without aid of pumps or electricity or anything. Of course as legend goes you must throw 2 coins over your shoulder to ensure your I did!

The amazing end to our day was later when we finally found the Pantheon, just in time to experience Mass just starting as we entered. We sat down and enjoyed a Spiritual event that was truly inspiring! The choir echoed throughout the enormous dome, incense wafted in the air surrounding us, and we felt surely blest as we passed the Peace to fellow Christians around us. What a day!

June 3  We arrived in Rome today and after settling into our hotel we went out to explore. We found a charming church...the Chapel of San Vitale. After going inside to see the paintings of the Stages of the Cross and some very realistically painted columns, we lit a candle for Shane and left, only to be stopped by the caretaker, who gave us more information. The chapel originally faced the opposite direction, and was built in 400AD. The road (now Via Nationale) was built 400 years later and swooped down to the church level, but now after so many years have passed, the road has steadily been raised up, necessitating a steep set of stairs that lead down 30-40 feet to the present entrance.

No comments:

Post a Comment