I took a solo trip to visit St. Peter’s Basillica. When I arrived the security checkpoint wound around St. Peter’s Square and was a four hour wait just to get in. Determined that there had to be a faster way in I popped into Christiana Tours just off the square. I had two options, I could see St. Peter’s itself and bypass the line or I could visit the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum but I could not do both. Weighing my options I decided I could not leave Rome without visiting the Sistine Ceiling. I purchased my ticket and waited around the square marveling at Bernini’s Colonnade around St. Peter’s. Once inside the Vatican Museum I could have wandered for several days. Unfortunately, I had a three hour time limit. I hurried to Raphael’s School of Athens and then to Michelangelo’s ceiling. I think I enjoyed viewing the School of Athens more because I was able to gt up close and personal. It was fun to imagine Raphael sneaking just down the hall to peer into the Sistine Chapel and viceversa. They were working on both pieces at the same time only a few yards away from each other. Don’t mistake me, I loved spending time in the Sistine Chapel but the crowds hurriedly moving through the chapel eager to check off one more site took some of the joy out of it. I hoped to spend time gazing upon Michelangelo’s work but I continued to be jostled by the enormous crowd. There were a few moments of bliss as I staked out a quiet corner and stared up at the ceiling. Seeing it in context, it all made sense. Why Michelangelo placed the panels where he did and progress from creation to Noah’s flood. Alas, no pictures were allowed but one of the highlights for me was when a priest came into the chapel to lead everyone in prayer.
To call the Vatican Museum immense would be a gross understatement. It literally could take several days to see everything. It houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance and Baroque art in the world but also one of the largest collections of ancient art and artifacts. I suppose I will just have to go back sometime to really soak it all in. For now this concludes my postings of my Italian pilgrimage. I will return to more about Bartram and my own work in the future. In fact my art will be in an upcoming show the same month I will be participating in the Bartram trail conference in Florida. More to follow on that very soon!