Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Vatican

Day 1 in Rome, we headed for the Vatican City. Fortunately, Todd was able to make online reservations for the museum so we were able to skip some of the line. (Lemme say, for the first time, but not the last, that Rome was NOT this crowded the first two times I was here. Ok. So that was twenty years ago, but still. The museum was PACKED!) So we walked through, essentially, the history of art...Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, medieval, renaissance...up to contemporary. Not to mention the ethnographic collections. The kids had better ace their art history classes in college!
Favorites of mine were the surprises. Seeing Todd's face as he walked into the Raphael room and turn around to see The School of Athens. He had no idea it was there. The kids enjoyed learning about Raphael and Michelangelo's relationship and who's portraits were a part of the painting (Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and a few others). I was charmed by a series of angel frescoes that had been salvaged - I'd seen photos of them before but those didn't do them justice. They're so delicate and light - lovely. My biggest surprise was when we were being herded through a hallway then stairwell and coming upon a collection of Matisse's work. One in particular really caught me. A mother & child which was at least 15'x30' and done in a simple line drawing. So spare - nothing extra. Gorgeous. I could only catch a bit of it in my photo. I'm not big on postcards or posters, but I would've bought one if it had been in the gift shop!
The goodies we missed - the Apollo Belvedere, and the Lancoon. Maybe out on loan?
Last surprise, the Pope has a nice little collection of Papuan shields. Just like the one we have on our living room wall. Ha! I don't have a Matisse or a Greek statue, but I do have that shield.
Next stop, St. Peter's. We wandered into the square and I assumed we'd walk right in ( have I mentioned it seems WAAAY more crowded than twenty years ago?) holy long line!!! It wrapped this way, then around there, then doubled back... That said, it only took us about 40min to get through the metal detectors (how awful is THAT? Of course, knowing now about the horrible event that just happened in Notre Dame...) The basilica was amazing. We took a long look at Michelangelo's Pieta and worked our way around. (And this is where my camera died...sigh) There was a service happening in the apse so certain areas were roped off but the plus was a lovely background of singing.
We managed to find our way back home, and quite exhausted decided to just buy some sandwiches in the shop downstairs, for dinner. Goodnight Rome!

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