Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Vatican

The Vatican is really rich - it owns so many beautiful and valuable things.

This is a sculpture of Laocoon, the Troy prophet who warned the Trojans of Greeks bearing gifts when the Greeks pretend to retreat, leaving behind a huge wooden horse. The god Apollo (who was on the Greeks' side) sent a serpent to kill Laocoon and his sons, to silence him. Unfortunately, the Trojans took it as a sign that Laocoon was wrong and the horse was therefore sacred. We all know the story by now, how the Trojans took the horse into Troy, how the Greek soldiers hidden in the wooden horse came out at night, opened the city gates to let in the Greek army, and slaughtered everyone.

A sneaked photo of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - the masterpiece of Michaelangelo. Photographs are forbidden, because rights are reserved by the Japanese company which sponsored the restoration of the Chapel. My favourite is the Delphic Sibyl (female prophet), second from the right, bottom row, in green and orange.

The School of Athens, by Raphael. Leonardo da Vinci as Plato and Aristotle in the center. Michaelangelo as Heraclitus, writing in front, slightly to the left of center. Raphael as the young painter Apelles, second from the right, looking out from the fresco directly at the viewer. Wouldn’t it be neat to have your bed room painted this way? You can, if you are a pope.

They did let me stand, for just a few moments, on 2,000 year old tiles.

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