The Vatican Museum is visited annually by in excess of 6 million people. This puts it constantly in the top 10 most visited museums in the world.
It is not difficult to see why.
The influences of Michelangelo and Raphael are seen many times on your journey and indeed above the entrance to the museums you will see a statue of them both together.
Michelangelo will become the highlight for many as undoubtedly the breath-taking beauty of the Sistine Chapel ceiling will live a lifetime in peoples memories. When taken in the context that the man himself did this under duress its splendour becomes even greater. It is for many difficult to appreciate that he was more comfortable and adept with the hammer and chisel of a sculptor. You will see one of his most stunningly beautiful sculptures in the St Peters Basilica. On entering go directly to your right and encounter his Pieta. This work is open to interpretation and is Mary holding the dead body of Jesus but as a child size adult. An immensely emotional piece which was sadly vandalised a few years ago but has been expertly restored. This is also one of the few times he signed his work as there was doubt at the time such a masterpiece could come from the hands of one so young, he was 23!
The Raphael Rooms (Italian. Stanze di Raphaello) were originally commissioned as a suite of rooms for Pope Julius ll. At this time Raphael was still quite a young and not so famous artist from Urbino.
Renaissance art is the largest influence that is first noted when travelling this museum but while there it is possible to cast your eyes on works going back over 2000 years.
Much has been gifted to Popes and the church over hundreds of years, some has been “liberated” during the Papal Wars.
A larger display of paintings can be viewed in the Pinacoteca.
In here you can view many priceless masterpieces I will drop a few names.
Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi and Caravaggio to name but a few.
In the Gallery of Modern Art again you will see the Masters! Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin and Marc Chagall are a few to whet the appetite.
You cannot put a value on these collections but it is sometimes difficult not to let the mind wander.
It would not be possible to name check all the greats in a short article but it goes without saying that The Vatican has one of the worlds greatest collections.
I trust you will take away a mind full of remarkable memories.
More next week.