We visited the Vatican Museum last October and of course, one of our must-do's on our list (we were Virgin Voyagers to Italy, after all) was the La Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel). Being a life-long artist and photographer, of course I had to see the major work of one of my artistic heroes: Michelangelo.
To see it, one needs to take a tour of the Vatican Museum itself and go through the one way in, one way out maze following throngs of tour groups and the rest of the masses with the same thing on their own must-so list. We thought we were ahead of the game by booking a "private" tour--a guide just for we three. Boy, were we wrong. Our guide thought he was doing us a favor by going very slow and getting into long-winded descriptions of just about everything we were seeing--at the beginning of the tour. Even though I told him ahead of time to keep it brief for Lucas (12 years old at the time) covering only the things a kid would love hearing about, he kept going on and on and on... so much so, that before we were 25% of the way through the tour, the huge tour groups were passing up by and swallowing us up into their chattering, sweaty, shoving and pushing masses.
In the end, we were only allowed 5 minutes to enjoy the masterpiece of the Chapel's ceiling... several of which we spent standing shoulder to shoulder with people who didn't know what they were even looking at--or for what reason--only that it was on their must-do list. There are only benches on the sides of the Chapel, so good luck getting a seat to relax and take it all in (we got a seat for perhaps 2 minutes). Oh, and of course, no picture taking, although people push this rule all the time with their smart phone cameras--with the chance of getting booted out. All in all, not exactly my idea of relaxing and pondering a magnificent work of art.
So, I had an idea. If you are a student of art, or someone else who has studied the work of the Renaissance Masters, like the Sistine Chapel, perhaps you could exclude such must-do's from your own list and study the art online, in the comfort of your own home. I've put together a gallery of sorts, of online resources where you can take your time and gaze upon the most minute details of the Sistine Chapel to your heart's content--without putting up with the chattering, cackling, sweat, the disrespect (many wear hats even though it IS a church), the rushing and the great expense.
Clicking on each photo will bring you to a high res image... Enjoy your Voyage...
And twenty five years after finishing ceiling of the Capella, Michelangelo painted the Last Judgment on the wall of the Sistine Chapel. An older, wiser man and being much closer to his own Final Judgement, the work is markedly different than the metaphorical grandeur of the ceiling's frescoes... perhaps more profound and shocking.
CLICK THIS PHOTO ABOVE
FOR A 360 DEGREE INTERACTIVE TOUR OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL
Move your mouse pointer around to change the view.
TIP: There is music on this interactive tour and a zoom function. Scroll in with your mouse wheel or use the = and - buttons in the lower left corner of the display. Place your mouse pointer in the center of the image, turn up the music and scroll very slowly around this masterpiece.
It's the best view you can get of the details of the Sistine Chapel.
It's almost a religious experience.
For a look at our own tour of the Vatican Museum, see:
The Agony And The Ecstasy: The Vatican Tour
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