|Rafael's School of Athens|
Catholics have made incalculable contributions to the world of art through iconography painting sculptures frescoes statues and more. (There is much more to outweigh their impact on the world on the debit side. I'm talking about you inquisition crusades repressive attitudes towards sex and sexuality -- you want I should go on?)
All the art here is overwhelming and to try to take in so much in a matter of days is nonsense. It can become a bit of a blur -- particularly when you are mixing in so many different epochs styles and sensibilities not too mention artists. Some things stand out for different reasons. I was struck by Rafael's School of Athens in part because I had a poster of it on the wall of my classroom for so many years when I corrupted young minds as a middle school teacher. To see the real deal in the Vatican museum after all these years was a treat. I was also impressed by the walls of original maps because I've long been a map aficionado. But there were of course many things that ooh and aahed me based on their artistic merits. Not surprisingly the works of the aforementioned Rafael and that Michelangelo chap but so too people I'd never heard of and can't know recall.
|Not sure what this is but I liked it.|
There were many many many many many many others making their way through the Vatican today of all nationalities. Many were part of tours. Tours are where someone gives you bit-size morsels of information -- that you'll soon forget -- to help it seem like you're expanding your intellect. "This piece was commissioned..." "The artist died immediately after completing..." "This painting depicts the battle between..." Disposable trivia as soon forgotten as heard.
One problem with traveling somewhere for the first time is the compulsion to take a photo of everything whether you know what the hell it is or not. This is particularly acute with the advent of digital photography and smart phones. I always reckon that if it's not a good picture or nothing worth saving I can decide that later and delete it. Back when you were dealing with film you had to be a lot more careful about what you were shooting.
|Chiesa del Gesù|
We continue to enjoy culinary delights and I have a particular fondness for gelato and the espresso they serve in small cups. I do like sitting and brooding over a large cup of coffee but this is a case of being in Rome and doing as the Romans do. The weather has been perfect. I can't imagine coming here in the Summer when it's hot. We were quite warm in the Vatican museum and it was mild outside. It must be unbearable in July unless they have a doozy of an air conditioning system.
(By the way the pope rushed by as we were walking through the museum. He stopped and said: "hey folks how are ya? Nice to see ya. Sorry I can't stop but I'm on my way to meeting with the board of directors. You know how that goes. Enjoy your visit and remember -- keep it real! Oh by the way blessings." What a guy!)