Tag Archives: michelangelo

Day 5 – Uffizi, Inside Il Duomo, David, Ponte Vecchio

Day 5 began the usual way: our reservations at the Uffizi were for 11:15am and we woke up at 11:30am. So we hustled down the river towards the museum, grabbing a panini for some nourishment before tackling one of the worlds greatest art galleries. We entered 45 minutes late, luckily without a problem, and got started going through the 42+ rooms. The first most notable room was Botticelli’s; on display were the “Venus” and the “Primavera” (there were no photos allowed, so these are poor quality).
Bottcelli's Primavera

Bottcelli's Primavera

 

Botticelli's Venus

Botticelli's Venus

One of the next rooms had three of Leonardo’s, and when I attempted to take a picture of the Adoration of the Magi, I got yelled at, so there are no more pictures from the Uffizi. However, the Da Vincis were great to see, there were also some Raphaels, Caravaggios, a Michelangelo mandorla, Titian’s “Venus,” and some Rubens, among hundreds other artists.

From there, we went back to the Duomo so that we could go in and up to the top. The inside was nice (it’s hard going into any churches after St. Peter’s), Don and Duch decided to go up to the top of the dome for €8, while I stayed courtside. Don got some great video from the top which I’ll post when we’re back – this internet connection is awful.

Inside Il Duomo

Inside Il Duomo

After seeing the inside of the Duomo, we rolled down the road towards Michelangelo’s school, the Galleria dell’Accademia which contains the original plaster mold of the “Rape of the Sabines,” the mold for a sculpture copy of Titian’s painting “Venus of Urbino,” a few plaster molds of Michelangelo’s “Slaves” (intended for his own funeral monument) and the larger-than-life “David.” Photos here were also illegal, but I got a few off without anyone noticing.

Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo's David

We began our march back in search of food, and went across the Ponte Vecchio while it was packed, the gold shops shining brightly.

Ponte Vecchio at night

Ponte Vecchio at night

After a quick bite and a look at some of the coolest gelato we had seen (below), we headed to the train station, bought our tickets, and were back to Rome…

Sweet gelato

Sweet gelato

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Day 3 (pt 2) – St. Peter’s, Piazza Navona, Pantheon

Day 3 was packed; for the second half of the day we hit three of the biggest sites in the city – St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.

Duc Jed and Don at St. Peter's

Duch Jed and Don at St. Peter's

St. Pete’s is connected to the Vatican Museum, so right when we exited the museum, we headed into the Basilica…which is enormous. When you walk through the doors, the opposite side of the church is two football fields away; everything here is designed to inspire awe through size.

Inside the Basilica

Inside the Basilica

Directly to the right is Michelangelo’s masterpiece, The Pieta, done when he was 25. There was originally some controversy over who actually sculpted it, and so Mike took out his chisle and retrofitted Mary’s sash with “Michelangelo Did This.” 

Michelangelo's Pieta

Michelangelo's Pieta

The 7 story bronze Baldacchino over St. Peter’s grave is very impressive, as is the apse beyond, both done by Bernini (who also did the Square outside). The alter below the canopy was actually made using marble taken from the Pantheon. The dome above was designed and begun by Michelangelo, and after his death, it was finished based on his diagrams.

Bernini's Baldacchino and Apse

Bernini's Baldacchino and Apse

 We didn’t make it down to the crypt or up to the top of the dome on Day 3, but we have plans to later in the week. We headed out and down the broad boulevard, across the Tiber River, and over to Piazza Navona for lunch. The Piazza is dominated in the center by Bernini’s greatest fountain, “The Four Rivers,” which depicts four river gods representing the four continents of the time: the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and the Rio de la Plata. 

Duch and Don in Piazza Navona

Duch and Don in Piazza Navona

After a couple pizzas in the piazza, we walked a few short blocks to the Pantheon (latin for “all gods”).  The open oculus in the center of the dome was meant to produce a column of light piercing the rotunda. When it rains, the water flows down the slightly slanted floor into drains on the outsides of the circular floor.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Originally, it was used for the greeks as a kind of worship supermarket – it had sculptures of all of the major gods, and you prayed to any or all that you wanted. Today, those statues are gone, and buried here are the first two kings of Italy and one of the original Renaissance men, Raphael (pictured below).

Pantheon, Raphael's Tomb

Pantheon, Raphael's Tomb

Tired, we walked back to the Metro, getting a large gellato on the way, got back to our beloved Urbis 2nd piano room and passed out until night time, went out to a couple bars, and caught the bus around 4:30am. Tomorrow: Florence.

Day 3 (pt. 1) – Vatican Museum

Just to give you an image of where we’re working from, here is a candid picture Don took of me in the Urbis lobby while I update you with all of our daily activities (note the box of wine). This computer is literally from the Stone Age; the keys are made of stone, the mouse is an actual rodent, you get the idea.
Hi-tech Urbis computer terminal

Hi-tech Urbis computer terminal

I’m going to go through today quickly because we’re trying to head out soon and I still need to shower, but needless to say – Day 3 was a hit factory. We started at the Vatican Museum (Duch had a hard time believing we had actually left Italy and were now in another country) at 10:30am; reservations we had made on the first day online for €26.50 each which allowed us to skip the hours-long line.

Vatican Museum entrance

Vatican Museum entrance

Once inside, we toured the Pinacoteca (or “ancient Roman or Greek picture gallery”) which was full of dyptics, tryptics, and various icons from the middle-ages as well as Raphael’s “Transfiguration,” Leonardo’s “St. Jerome,” an Caravaggio’s “Deposition.” From there, we went through the Ancient Section of Egyption, Sumerian, and Etruscan art with pieces dating from 3,000B.C. to 500A.D.  In the Octagonal Courtyard, we saw two sculptural masterpieces, the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoon, followed by the Belvedere Torso, which was adored by Michalangelo, who was heard to have said things like “I am the pupil of the Torso” – pretty high praise coming from arguably the greatest sculptor of all time huh? 

Apollo Belvedere

Apollo Belvedere

I have to say, even after being to the Met in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the National Gallery in London, and (as of yesterday) the Borghese Gallery in Rome, the Vatican Museum is probably the greatest museum in the world (and we’re going to the Uffizi in Florence tomorrow!).  There were just so many masterpieces of the Renaissance (my favorite period) that had to be seen, it was exhausting and my camera was completely dead by the end.

Laocoon - greatest sculpture of all time.

The Laocoon - possibly the greatest sculpture of all time.

Above is the Laocoon (lay-AWK-oh-wahn), definitely one of my favorite pieces ever.  He was the high priest of Troy who warned his fellow Trojans, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts…” and when the Greeks brought over the Trojan Horse as a ploy to get inside the city walls, he again warned his people not to bring it inside. The gods, who wanted the Greeks to win, sent huge snakes to crush him and his two sons – here we see their (both Laocoon, his sons, and the Trojan people’s) final futile struggle.  The sculpture embodies agony and struggle, twisting muscles and terror, and is also considered the most famous Greek statue of ancent Rome. Lost for over a thousand years, The Laocoon was unearthed in the ruins of Nero’s Golden House and paraded up and down the street of Rome in 1506 – seen by none other than Michalangelo who, inspired, began his work on the Sistine Ceiling only two years later.
Belvedere Torso - one of Mike's favs

Belvedere Torso - one of Mike's favs

Here, from the top floor of the museum, we can see the famous Papal Tennis Courts, where Benedickt, and John Paul before him, play their home matched. Duch said that he was going to apply for the position of Papal Ball Boy: “It pays €30 per match, dude!”

 

Vatican Papal Tennis Courts

Vatican Papal Tennis Courts

Let’s skip ahead (for the benefit of my hands and your eyes) to the final rooms by Raphael and the coup de grace of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel.  Raphael is featured at the end of the tour, having been given the supreme honor of decorating the walls and ceilings of Pope’s personal quarters; at the tender age of 25, and his highlight is the School of Athens which decorates the final room before Mike’s ceiling. What’s funny is that, simultaneously, while Raphael was doing the School and its opposite wall, Michaelangelo was working on the ceiling in the next room. Apparentely, Raphael went to see what Mike was up to, noticed how jacked and heroic everyone in the Last Judgment looks (Raph’s people were a little dainty), went back to his rooms, and made everyone look more muscular and epic. Can you imagine that scenario? An understudy running errands, taking orders, and bringing wine, brea,d and cheese between the rooms for two of the greatest and most influetial artists in human history? A little staggering.

Well, here is the School of Athens – which was Larry Kreiger’s, my art history professor in high school, favorite painting and hangs on the office wall of Drexel’s Philosophy Department Head, Jacques Catudal – and where Raphael’s portrait can be found in the lower right (guy looking out at us with the black beret), Leonardo di Vinci is Plato (center left, pointing at the sky), and Donato Bromante (architect of St. Peter’s) plays the role of Euclid. 

Raphael - School of Athens

Raphael - School of Athens

Here is the Sistine Ceiling, and the Last Judgment (it was highly illegal to take pictures of any kind in the Chapel, so my pics of the Ceiling and Judgement are a little blurry; don’t tell anyone that I have them or posted them online). Michalangelo, always the weirdo, put his self-portrait on the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew to the right of Jesus (who stands in the center, about to spank all of the bad people to hell).

Michaelangelo's Last Judgment

Michalangelo's Last Judgment

Michaelangelo's Sistine Ceiling

Michalangelo's Sistine Ceiling

Full shot of Sistine Ceiling

Full shot of Sistine Ceiling