The City of the Vatican in Rome is an autonomous State governed directly by the Pontificate and officially recognized through the "Patti Lateranensi" of 1929 after Christ by the Italian Republic.
State of the Vatican
is located on the right shore of the Tevere River, around the Basilica
of San Pietro, on the site of the antique "Ager Vaticanus", where,
during the first period of the Imperial Rome, among the numerous
Christians who suffered the martyr, it seems that there was also San
Pietro. On the order of Mussolini, around 1936 after Christ, the urban
asset of the area in front of the columns of Bernini was radically
changed, and to leave the space for the "Via della Conciliazione", parts
of the antique villages were destroyed. The street, that obviously
completely changes the meaning of the columns and the rapport the work
had with the rest of the area, was above all the tangible sign of the
willing to recompose in a definitive way the disunion between the
Italian State and the Church by ideally unifying the Basilica of the
Vatican with the centre of Rome and the edifices of the Quirinale
(Residence of the President of the Republic) and Campidoglio (Square
designed by Michelangelo).
St. Peter's Square was completed between 1656 and 1667 by Bernini, on the orders of Pope Alexander VII. The architect gave life to one of his most beautiful scenic designs by creating the trapezoidal widening which starts at the façade and widens into two semicircular arms of the colonnade, so designing an ellipse 240 meters wide.
At the center is the obelisk, brought to Rome by Caligula
to decorate the "spina" of Nero's circus. Located just to the right of
today's basilica, this was where St. Peter was crucified. Sixtus IV had
moved from its original position and Domenico Fontana, along with an
army of men and machines, took 4 months to complete the removal job.
While it was being erected, there was a law prohibiting anyone from
making noise, on pain of severe punishment.
Michelangelo's last great work, the Dome of St. Peter's, has a diameter of around 43 meters; it sits on four great arches that stand on four massive piers, each with a perimeter of 71 meters. When Michelangelo died, the drum was already in place with its 16 windows.
Giacomo della Porta finished the work with the construction of the actual dome, raising it 10 meters so it now rests 136 meters above floor level. This deviation from the original design caused it to lose some of the round shape Michelangelo had planned. The mosaics were completed later, following designs by Cavalier d'Arpino.
In 1498 after Christ, Michelangelo, only 22 years old, writes a contract, guaranteed by Jacopo Galli, with the French Cardinal of San Dionigi, for the realization, within a year, of a "Pietà" (pity) in marble destined to be placed in the Basilica of San Pietro.
On a piece of marble personally chosen in the pits of Carrara, Michelangelo represents the isolated aspects of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the body of the Christ right after it was taken down from the Crosse, according to an iconography that, during this period, had found a large consensus on the other side of the Alps. 1.74cm high, the "Pietà" of Michelangelo presents strong particularities in the anatomy and also in the finishes of the drapes, with translucent effects of accentuated by the way in which the light seemed to caress the marble superficies. One of the things that most surprises on the sculpture is the aspect extremely young the artist wanted to give to the face of the Virgin Mary; this choice, strongly criticized by the contemporaneous, finds its justification in the abstract character of the composition. In the intentions of the sculptor, the Madonna probably represents the entire humanity and as such, using the words of the "Divine Comedy" of Dante, she is the "Virgin Mother, daughter of your son". On the face of the Christ are absents the signs of the Passion, Michelangelo, in fact, does not desire the objective representation of the death but expresses his own religious vision in the abandoned and, anyway, serene face of the Son, as a testimony of the communion between man and God sanctified with the sacrifice of the Saver. It is said that Michelangelo, not used to firm the own works, after he had casually heard some visitors from Lombardy say that the "Pietà" was the work of Gobbo di Milano, went to the Basilica of San Pietro on the night itself, and engraved on the work the writing: "Angelus Bonarotus Florentinus Faciebat". The sculpture was placed in 1499 after Christ in the Chapel of Santa Petronilla in San Pietro, where it stays until 1517 after Christ when it is moved to the old Sacristy. Since 1749 after Christ the work is placed in its actual location and it has abandoned the Basilica of San Pietro only to be welcomed to the Universal Exhibition of New York from 1962 to 1964. Following the gesture of a silly person, who in 1972 damaged the work with numerous hammer beats, after the restoration it has been decided to protect the sculpture with a crystal wall.
Urbano VIII charged Bernini to realise the Baldachin of St.Peter for the main altar of the Basilica at the age of only 25 years old.
In this period, the fame of the artist was great; however
the duty he had undertaken was showing aspects of incredible difficulty,
starting by The project and the realisation of the work take around ten
years, but the result is an architectonic complex, and at the same time
sculptural, that Bernini realises, and all the art is in the way he
interprets and interacts with the own space of baroque.
In the apartment located at the second floor of the Pontifical Palace chosen by Giulio II della Rovere as his own residence and then also used by the following Popes, Raffaello painted frescoes in four rooms, from then known as the "Stanze di Raffaello" (Raffaello Rooms).
The first room one encounters during the visit is called
"Room of Constantine" from the name of the Imperator who recognized
Catholicism as the official religion of the Roman state.
The Sistine Chapel, wanted by Pope Sisto IV della Rovere, from which it takes its name, was built by Giovannino de'Dolci between 1475 and 1481 after Christ.
The decoration in the style of 1400 of the walls,
realized by an extraordinary group of painters made of Perugino,
Botticelli, Signorelli and Ghirlandaio, includes the artificial
draperies, the "Stories of Moses and Christ" and the portraits of the
Pontiffs while Pier Matteo d'Amelia painted for the inauguration on the
vault a starlight sky.
Separation of light and darkness
The Creation of the stars and the plants
Separation of the land and water
Creation of Adam
Creation of Eva
Original sin and expulsion from the Earthly Paradise
§ Sacrifice of Noe
Ebriety of Noe
When the painting process of the Sistine Chapel was
completed, Michelangelo represented along the sides of the vaults
figures of sibyls and prophets seating on the throne, in the sails,
those who presumably have to be retained as the ancestors of Christ, and
in the four angular crests, some episodes of the salvation of the people
The original core of the works of the Vatican Museums is formed of the collection of sculptures that were exhibited in the "Court of the Statues", nowadays called "Cortile Ottagono", on the desire of Giulio II Pope from 1503 to 1513 after Christ.
Clement XIV and Pio VI fitted out the first collections
of the Pontificate Museums and Galleries, while Pio VII enriched the
Epigraphic Collection and increased the rooms dedicated to the Classical
Antiquities, adding the "Chiaramonti Museum" with the rooms of the Hall,
of the Lapidaria Gallery and of the "Braccio Nuovo" (New Arm) where are
hosted a series of statues, busts, sarcophagus and figures in relief
with more than 5000 pagan and Christian inscriptions, and some of the
most famous works of the Antiquity such as the statue of "Augusto di
Prima Porta", the colossal statue of the Nile and the "Doriforo".
Gregorio XVI founded the Etruscan Museum and the Egyptian Museum, to
collect the works coming from the excavations and explorations made in
Etruria and in Egypt.
§ The Gallery of the Tapestries, fitted out since 1814 after Christ in the decorated rooms during the Pontificate of Pope Pio VI.
§ The Gallery of the Geographic Maps with the painted maps on the walls in forty frames, decorated under Gregorio XIII and restored during the Pontificate of Urbano VIII.
§ The Sobieski Room, so called from the painting of Giovanni III Sobieski, king of Poland, which makes busy an entire wall.
§ The Room of the Immaculate, located in the Borgia Towers, containing frescoes relatives to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
§ The Rooms of Raffaello, which name is due to the frescoes realised by Raffaello in four rooms belonging to the antique residence of Giulio II.
§ The Sixtin Chapel that takes its name from its founder Sisto IV and welcomes the very famous frescoes of Michelangelo on the vault and on the back walls with the "Universal Judgement".
§ The Borgia Apartment, founded by Pope Alessandro IV Borgia, and decorated by the frescoes of Pinturicchio inspired by the classical world and the Roman mythology.
§ The Vatican Picture-Gallery, located by Pio XI in 1932 after Christ in an apposite building in the new entrance of the Museums.
§ The Missionary-Ethnological Museum founded by Pio XI, initially placed in the superior floors of the Lateranense Palace and then moved, on the desire of Giovanni XXIII, in the same building where are also exhibited the collections ex-Lateranensi.
§ The Collection of Modern and Contemporaneous Religious Art, wanted by Paolo VI and the Pavilion of the Coaches fitted out in 1973 in the rooms extracted from the Square Garden.
The Vatican Picture-gallery, founded in 1799 after Christ by Pio VI, is actually located in the structure projected by the architect Luca Beltrami on the will of Pope Pio XI.
To the first core of 118 works, initially hosted in the
nineteenth-century Square Garden, through the years various works have
been added, up to constitute a collection of 460 paintings, organised in
the rooms of the Vatican Picture-gallery according to the chronological
period and the school of style.
§ Giovanni Bonsi: Madonna with Child and the Saints Onofrio, Nicola, Bartholomew and Giovanni Evangelista
§ Margaritone d'Arezzo: San Francesco of Assisi
§ Vitale da Bologna: the Madonna of the Battuti
§ Giovanni del Biondo: Virgin of the Apocalypse with Saints and angels
§ Francescuccio Ghissi: Madonna of the humility
§ Nicolò and Giovanni: final judgment
§ Bernardo Daddi: Martyr of Saint Stefano and founding of his relics
§ Allegretto Nuzi: Madonna with Child, San Michele and Saint Orsola
§ School of Giunta Pisano: San Francesco and stories of his life
§ Roman School: Christ Blessing, Prophet Amos, Prophet Moses
§ Umbrian School: Processional cross
§ Antonio Veneziano: San Giacomo Maggiore
Room II – 13th -14th centuries:
§ Giovanni di Paolo: Late on dead Christ, Prayer of Jesus in the
§ botanical garden, Annunciation, Tablet of Biccherna
§ Pietro Lorenzetti: Christ in front of Pilate
§ Lorenzo Monaco: Facts of the life of Benedetto, Sant'Antonio Abate meets the eremite Paolo
§ Niccolò di Tommaso: San Brigida of Sweden and the Vision of the Nativity
§ Sano di Pietro: Nativity and annunciation to the shepherds, Escape in Egypt
§ Bernardo Daddi: Madonna of the Magnificat
§ Gentile da Fabriano: Stories of San Nicola of Bari
§ Giotto di Bondone: Stefaneschi Triptych
§ Simone Martini: Blessing redeemer
Room III – 15th century:
§ Beato Angelico: Stories of San Nicola di Bari, Madonna with Child and the Saints Domenico and Domenico and Catherine
§ Benozzo Gozzoli: Madonna of the Cintola
§ Filippo Lippi and helps: Coronation of the Virgin, Angels, Saints and donators
§ Masolino da Panicale: Dormition of the Virgin, Crucifixion
Room IV – 15th-16th centuries:
§ Melozzo da Forlì: Group of little angels, Head of apostle, Head of apostle, Group of little angels, Sisto IV nominates Bartholomew Platina prefect of the Vatican Library, Angel playing the lute
§ Marco Palmezzano: Madonna with child and SS. Francesco, Lorenzo, Giovanni Battista, Pietro, Domenico and Antonio Abate, Christ carrying the cross, Annunciation, Virgin with child in throne with SS. Giovanni Battista and Gerolamo, Sacred Family with S. Elisabeth and San Giovannino
Room V and Room VI – 15th century
§ Marco Basaiti: Madonna with child and San Giovannino
§ Benedetto Buglioli: Stemma of Innocenzo VIII
§ Lucas Cranach: the Old, Pietà
§ Ercole de' Roberti: The miracles of San Vincenzo Ferrer
§ Carlo Crivelli: Pietà
§ L'Alunno: Coronation of the Virgin and Saints
Room VII – 15th-16th centuries:
§ Giovanni Santi: San Girolamo in throne
§ Perugino: Madonna with child and the Saints Lorenzo, Ludovico of Tolosa, Ercolano and Costanzo, San Benedetto; San Flavia; San Placido
§ Pinturicchio e G.B. Caporali: Coronation of the Virgin
Room VIII – 16th century:
§ Raffaello: Miraculous Fishing, Delivery of the keys, Stoning of San Stefano, Conversion of San Paolo, Blinding of Elima, Garrison of the cripple, Coronation of the Virgin, The annunciation, The adoration of the Magi, The presentation at the Temple, Faith Charity and Hope, Madonna of Foligno, Transfiguration
Room IX – 15th – 16th centuries:
§ Bernardino de' Conti: Portrait of Francesco II Sforza
§ Giovanni Bellini: Late on dead Christ
§ Leonardo da Vinci: San Girolamo
Room X – 15th – 16th centuries:
§ Giulio Romano and Giovan Francesco Penni: coronation of the Virgin
§ Tiziano: Madonna of San Niccolò of the Frari
§ Veronese: Vision of Santa Elena
Room XI – 16th centuries:
§ Barocci: San Francesco receives the stigmata
§ Ludovico Carracci: Trinity with dead Christ
§ Cavalier d'Arpino: Annunciation
§ Marco dal Pino: Mystic press and Christ in glory
§ Barocci: Annunciation
§ Girolamo Muziano: Resurrection of Lazzaro
Room XII – 17th centuries:
§ Guido Reni: Madonna with child and the Saints Tommaso and Girolamo, San Matteo and the angel, Crucifixion of San Pietro
§ Andrea Sacchi: Vision of S. Romualdo, Mass of S. Gregorio
§ Caravaggio: Deposal of the cross
§ Domenichino: Communion of San Girolamo
§ Nicolas Poussin: Martyr of San Erasmo
§ Jean Valentin: Martyr of the Saints Processo and Martiniano
Room XIII – 17th centuries:
§ Pietro da Cortona: David kills the giant Goliath, Vision of San Francesco
§ Orazio Gentileschi: Giuditta and the servant with the head of Oloferne
§ Nicolas Poussin: Victory of Gideon against the Madianiti
§ Guido Reni: The fortune held back by Love
Room XIV – 17th century:
§ Carlo Maratta: Portrait of Clement IX
§ Baciccia: Vision of San Francesco Saverio
§ Sassoferrato: Madonna with Child
§ Daniel Seghers and Erasmus II Quellin: Garland of flowers with "Ecce Homo"
Room XV – 18th century:
§ Giovanni Battista Crosato: Madonna with child with San Antonio from Padova and a Saint bishop
§ Gaetano Gandolfi: Triumph of Faith
§ Pier Leone Grezzi: Martyr of San Clement
§ Pompeo Batoni: Portrait of Pio VI
§ Giuseppe Maria Crespi: Portrait of Benedetto XIV
§ Donato Creti: Astronomic observations
§ Thomas Lawrence: Portrait of George IV of England
§ Francesco Mancini: Rest during the escape in Egypt
Room XVI – 19th century:
§ Wenzel Peter: Auto portrait, Battle of a zebra against a leopard, Owl with prey and landscape, Tiger, Adam and Eve in the Earthly Paradise
Room XVII – 18th century:
§ Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Antonio Raggi: Angel of the right, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro (first version), Angel of the left, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro (first version), Angel of left, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro (definitive version), Angel of right, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro (definitive version)
§ Gian Lorenzo Bernini: Head of San Giovanni Crisostomo, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro, Head of Sant'Atanasio, model for a statue of the altar of the Pulpit of San Pietro
Room XVIII – 15th – 19th centuries:
§ Arte Russa: assumption of the Virgin, San Nicola and facts of his life
§ Giorgio Klontzas: San Tito bishop
The Gregorian Egyptian Museum, founded by Pope Gregorio XVI in 1839 after Christ, was organised according to the indications of the Italian Egyptologist, father L.M.Ungarelli.
The works are hosted inside the palace of Innocenzo VIII
in the rooms with frescoes realised by artists such as Barocci and
Zuccari and with the famous terrace of the "Nicchione della Pigna". The
antiquities of the ancient Egypt have been collected in the Adriana
villa of Tivoli and in the other constructions of the imperial Rom as
well as directly in Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine. Of great interest
are the statues of the priest Udja-Hor-res-ne, with inscriptions that
look to refer to the conquest of Egypt by Cambise in 525 before Christ,
the one of the Queen Tuia, mother of Ramses II, datable around the
beginning of the 13th century before Christ, of the king Tolomeo
Filadelfo and of Arsinoe II.
§ Statue of Ramses II in throne
§ Funerary stele with "false door" of Iry, administrator of the Necropolis of Giza
§ Commemorative stele of Hatshepsut and Thutmosi III
§ Statue of the priest Udja-Hor-res-ne
2nd Room - 1600 before Christ - 200 after Christ
§ Case and cap of the sarcophagus of Dejet - Mut
§ Mummy in its case of Tebe, Deir el-Bahri
3rd Room - 131 after Christ
§ Reconstruction of the "Serapeo" and of the "Canopo" of Villa Adriana with the statues: Osiride/Apis Serapide double forehead born from the lotus flower, the God Nefertum, the God Ptah, Antinoo/Osiride, Iside-Sothis-Demeter
4th Room – 1st – 2nd century after Christ
§ Statue of Thot cynocephalus
§ Statue of God Anubis
§ Statue of Hapy, God of fecundity
§ Three statues of God Horus - Zeus Casios di Pelusio
§ Terracotta painted with landscape of the Nile
§ Statue couchant of the Nile
5th Room - from 2000 before Christ to 100 after Christ
§ Statue of the Goddess lioness Sekhmet
§ Head of Mentuhotep
§ Colossal statue of the Queen Tuya
§ Colossal statues of Tolomeo Filadelfo and Arsione II
§ Copy of statues of the baboon of God Thot
6th Room – first millennium before Christ
§ The ibis of God Thot
§ The Goddess Aurora
§ The god Harpocrate seating on a lotus flower
§ Cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia
§ Cylindrical seals from Mesopotamia
§ Palmireni relieves from the Federico Zeri collection
§ Jugs from the era of iron II in red ceramics
§ Heads of arrows in bronze
9th Room – 883 before Christ - 612 before Christ
§ Winged genius kneeling adoring the tree of life, of Nimrud, 1st room of the Palace North-West
§ Brick with inscription of Sargon II; of Khorsabad, Palazzo Reale
§ Genio alato with eagle head
§ Soldiers Assyrian carrying stools part of the treasure coming from a city taken by force
§ The tents of the Arabs in the desert given to fire by the Assyrian soldiers
§ Workers taking care of the transport of a bull with colossal human head
§ Captain of the archers in battle