Monday, September 25, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
This was one of the most inspirational days I’ve had, and I am doing the very rare thing of writing about it actually on the day because I do not want to forget everything I have to write down.
Early in the morning, we had to wake up and get ready. The Vatican Museums are known for being really crazy, and you have a chance of getting there before the real crowds hit if you get there early.
While Christy was showering, I decided to call Jared, and I actually ended up getting a hold of him right as he was coming back from his surprise Birthday party put on by his mom. He said that there were a lot of people at the party and that it was really nice. I was happy to hear about it.
We headed down and had a very big breakfast before heading off onto the bus. The bus was really crowded, but we managed to cram in as a group of 20 on our way. When we got off the bus, it was still before 8, but the line for the museum wrapped well around the block already. We were told that it was bad news, so we sat and waited. The Museum didn’t even open for another 50 minutes, but we were able to fill the time. The line moved very quickly, and we were in only an hour and a half after we had arrived. However, we were not able to beat the crowds. Once we got in, we were walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the many other people that were in there, there was no room to move or breathe, and it really was very crazy.
We had to walk through four or five very long crowds to make it to the Sistine Chapel, and once we got in there, it was very crazy. However, it was very worth it. When I looked up on the ceiling and saw the real fresco of Michelangelo of God giving life to Adam, tears welled up in my eyes. It was as emotional for me as seeing some of the other amazing Boticelli pieces that I had so long admired. I felt so lucky to be there even though it was difficult physically to get there and to be there.
We spent quite a bit of time in the chapel going over each scene and each character. The impact of the scenes on me was immense, and being in that chapel was one of the best things that I have done so far in this life. Michelangelo really does change the entire space of the architecture of the building with only paint. It was very impressive.
Jeffery then went over the Last Judgment with us. We had a little time then to look at the other frescos in the chapel painted my Boticelli. I was very happy to see them as well.
When we left the Sistine Chapel, we spent time going through the other parts of the Vatican Museums very slowly. We saw the cabinets that used to house the volumes that are now in temperature and climate controlled vaults out of view of the general public.
I saw frescoes that have the maps of Italy on them that are very famous.
We moved slowly through the Egyptian and Assyrian parts of the museum before landing in the Ancient Greece and Rome section. I was able to see some of the statues that were very influential to the people of the Renaissance. The sculptures are just amazing, and it reminds me what an incredible group the human race has been and that this brilliance is not just isolated to the present day. The experience was very humbling.
We then moved back through toward the Sistine Chapel to look at some rooms that Raphael was working on at the same time that Michelangelo was painting. I saw the School of Athens fresco, which was something I have seen many times, but never expected to see today. Raphael did a very good job in his day.
We then headed to the painting section of the museum and looked at the last Italian Renaissance paintings we will look at as a group. The painters were amazing, and the evaluation of them was very easy because I now have a large amount of understanding of Italian art under my belt from which to judge. It was amazing to see the masterpieces in that museum.
Everyone was very tired at this point, and our feet were hurting, so we decided it was time to take a break for lunch. We had seen all of the important parts of the Vatican Museums, so we headed out onto the streets and into the rain for lunch. Christy and I spent some time walking up the street until we came to Saint Peter’s Square. We decided to eat the lunch we packed under the protection of the covered walkway leading to the church. It was a very nice way to eat lunch. I had bare feet because walking in my sandals was slippery, and I did get stepped on. I got accused of being an American for getting mad at the person I stepped on. The charge, for which, I am guilty.
We then headed off into the rain to get gelato and umbrellas, and eventually, we had found both. I had even managed to get a white umbrella, which I have been looking for for a very long time.
We then walked back to Saint Peters because it was raining very hard. We still had quite a bit of time, so I asked Christy if she would be willing to photograph me in the rain with my umbrella. She did a little bit, but then my friends showed up, and we started to run around. Eventually, we had ditched the umbrellas and our shoes and were running around in a torrential downpour. We were dancing and doing cartwheels (yes, the pregnant woman was doing cartwheels). Christy took quite a few photographs of us messing around. We decided to play follow the leader in the rain and ended up running around crazily laughing and smiling. I am told that we attracted quite a bit of attention, and we were photographed by many tourists who found us amusing.
It was finally time to meet up with the group to go into Saint Peter’s Church.
The church is amazing. It is very big and is in fact the biggest church ever. As we walked in the doors, which are great masterpieces, we came upon the stone where Charlemagne knelt and was crowned emperor by the Pope. That was very amazing. I felt like a piece of history.
I was able to see Michelangelo’s Pieta. It is very amazing, but we were not able to get close to it because it has been well protected since a crazy man attacked it. The people were all just standing there trying to take photos of it, but I weaseled my way to the front and got to spend some time looking at it. It was very amazing.
We looked at the rest of the church after that. The church has a lot of legends and other things associated with it like the spear that put the wound in Christ and the rag that wiped his face on the way to the cross. Saint Peter is said to be buried under the church, and the altar over his body is very magnificently made.
There are so many fine things in the church that the only way to describe it would be to send someone to look at it. I was humbled by it, and I plan to return tomorrow without my camera to look some more, even in more torrential rain.