There are so many places on my bucket list where I would love to travel, but there’s one place I am dying to visit. Can you guess? I would give you a hint, but I cannot even describe in words on how beautiful this attraction is. I am joking, yes I can and that is exactly what I am going to do for you right now! Get ready everyone, because we are going in a virtual tour to the amazing Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel!
I am very excited to take you on this amazing virtual tour and show you this iconic location. If you have never been to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, then welcome! For those who have, just know I am high-key jealous of you right now– but still come along with us; it’s never a bad time.Virtual Tours of Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel During COVID
Unfortunately, no one is able to physically visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel during these current times due the pandemic. Thank God for virtual tours, am I right? Look on the bright side, I am literally giving you the inside look, without paying any flights or fees; so you’re welcome!
Before we head on in, let me give you some background knowledge on the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. It is 42,000 meter of pure beauty, located in the state of Vatican City. I know, you are probably thinking, ‘how is it a state when it says it is clearly a city?’. Well, friends, it is an independent state– not to mention the smallest state in the world, with a population of 825 people. Mind blown? Yup, mines too! I am warning you though, more mind blowing coming your way during this virtual tour. We will be walking through the Vatican Museum and ending at the notorious Sistine Chapel so let’s get started!
Court of the Pigna
For our first stop of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel virtual tour, we are standing in this astonishing courtyard called the Court of the Pigna; but I personally call it “The Pine cone Courtyard”. Reason being, I mean come on, look in front of you! There is a gigantic pine cone right there. This is a cool pine cone, not the ones your grandmother puts out as Christmas decorations. It is a green color and is made up of a gorgeous bronze that sits in the middle or the courtyard surrounded with stairs on each side. This statue was founded in the area of the pantheon and was made by the Ancient Romans almost 2,000 years ago.
The pine cone is not the only thing you can observe in the Fontana della Pigna. There is also a reflective statue of a big Sphere. It is called the Sphere within Sphere. This was actually created about 30 years ago; so it is a fairly recent piece of art. There is meaning behind the Sphere within Sphere; if you stand in front of it, we see from the outside we see a perfect sphere but the inside hides another mechanism of another sphere. In other words, do not judge a book by its cover. I absolutely love this art piece because it can be reflective for others– see what I did there? Okay, I do not want my cringe humor ruin your virtual tour experience, let’s go to the next stop of the virtual tour!
Collection of Popes
This is actually a pretty amazing spot. There are a variety of statues, but I was to show you three of my favorite ones. Not only these statues are very artistic, but the backstory behind them are super interesting.
The first statue we have here is called the Statue of Apollo. It was made by the Ancient Romans in the first century of Christ as a copy of an original Greek statue. Apollo was known as the Pagan God– the God of poetry and the God of music. Back then, Apollo represented “classical beauty” in other words in today’s society,he was very good looking. He is not really my type, but to each their own. Apparently, he was so handsome, Michelangelo was inspired by the look of the statue; so he modeled Apollo’s face after Jesus Christ in his paint of The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. Don’t worry, we will get there soon enough! The off-white of this statue gives it that beautiful definition, It is an absolute masterpiece!
The next statue is pretty interesting. This one is called the Laocoön; sounds so fancy with the accent and everything. If you have heard of the ancient story Troy and the Trojan Horse, this is what this statue is based on. For those who are not familiar with the story, let me give you the rundown really quickly.
Virtual Tours of Sistine Chapel
So, basically, he was a Priest that was trying to warn the Trojans from accepting the horse as a gift from the Greeks, but no listened to him. As a result, since the Gods were on the Greeks side, he was punished by being killed by snakes– and that is exactly what the statue is showing.
The expressions and detail or this art piece seems so legit. The statue was founded in Downtown Rome in the beginning of the 1500’s. Michelangelo told the Pope Julius II, who was pope at the time, to go get it because it was something special. Obviously, he was not wrong, because it is sitting here in the Vatican Museum during the virtual tour today.
Statue of Apollo and Laocoön
The Statue of Apollo and the Laocoön are very important art pieces because they were both the first statue to enter the Vatican Museum (previously known as the palace), but this last one is a little less important, but it is a great piece. This one is called the River God also known as Arno. It represents the river or Arno which is located in Florence, Italy. Back then, rivers represent men with huge beards; like the one in this statue.
It was founded at the time of Pope Leo X in the 1500’s. The way this statue honors Pope Leo X, they added a lion’s face inside the vase which the bearded man is holding. Not going to lie, but I kind of jumped back when I saw that. I just thought that was a super clever way for an artist to create a legacy of Pope Leo X.
Hall of the Muses
Wow, look at us! We have already been through two whole courtyards at the Vatican Museum. I don’t know about you, but I am loving this. Anyway, we have officially entered inside. Looking around right now is breathtaking, and we are not even at the Sistine Chapel yet! I cannot imagine the expression on my face once we get there; but look where right now. Welcome to the Hall of the Muses. Along the sides of the red walls we see statues of figures called muses. Muses are the protectors of art, music, and poetry. A fun fact is the words “museum” and “music” comes from the word “muses”. Are you amused? Here I go again with my cringe humor, sorry everyone.Virtual Tours of Sistine Chapel
Let’s go to the center of the room and look at this next art piece. This is called the Torso. I mean, if you look at it, you can clearly see how it got its name. It is just a plain torso; no arms, no legs, and no head. Bizarre, right? It’s an important piece though; reason being because it was made in the first century before Christ. Also, if you look towards the bottom of the torso in the center, you will see a signature; which is very rare for ancient art like this piece of marble.
Gallery of Maps
Who needs a GPS when you have the Gallery of Maps? This is a really cool and narrow hall in the Vatican Museum. The left and right side of the walls are covered with maps with different regions of Italy. The east coast of Italy is on one side, and the West coast of Italy is on the other side. It was painted at the end of the 1500’s and the paintings are very detailed.Virtual Tours of Sistine Chapel
For example, let’s look over here. Right here on the map is Lazio, Rome. It is so detailed, you see places such as the Tiger River and even the Vatican! It does not look like this anymore since it was painted a very long time ago. This Gallery of Maps was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII; also known as the man who reformed the gregorian calendar.
The Raphael Rooms: The Room of the Segnatura
The Raphael Rooms are one of the most iconic rooms in the Museum. They consist of four different rooms. It was formerly known as Pope Julius the II’s private apartment. He called up one of the most famous painters of all time, Raphael to paint and decorate it.
Out of all four of these rooms, the most well-known room is the Room of the Segnatura. It used to be the Pope’s library, but then became the tribunal of the church for signing a bunch of documents; which is why it has it’s name.
The most famous painting in this room is The School of Athens. It is a beautiful painting of people walking in a building that is about to be build; which is St. Peter’s Basilica. Some of the people in the frescoe are included and represented with great minds of the ancient times. Both well-known philosophers Plato and Aristotle who are in the center of the masterpiece.
We made it to homestretch! Of course, I had to save the best for last; the Sistine Chapel. It is famous for its mind blowing paint of The Last Judgement by Michelangelo, and also this is the exact place where the election takes place of the new Pope. The Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV and it was also named after him. At the end of the 15th century, he was called the best artists in Tuscany and they created this beautiful frescoe side walls of the right and left hand side. As you look, these are paintings of Moses’ old testament and Jesus’ new testament.
Now, look up; looks familiar, right? Pope Julius II called Michelangelo to paint this now famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. As you look up, look in the center. That is a painting that represents Genesis, which is the creation of the world in the Bible. Isn’t it crazy how the beginning of the world is right above our heads?Virtual Tours of Sistine Chapel
The most iconic part of this ceiling is the Creation of Adam. You know, the once painting when Adam and God are reaching for reaching each other. It is showing Adam with no energy because he is about to receive life for the first time. Also, if you notice behind God is a shape of a human brain. Michelangelo was trying to send a message to us as viewers that we need to use the brain God has given us because it is a beauty.
Alright, now look straight at the wall in front of you. This is a big painting of The Last Judgement. I am not here to give you a Religion lecture, but if you do not know the story behind this painting; long story short, it is the day when Jesus comes back to earth and decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. In the center you would notice a beautiful detailed painting of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary along with Saints and others surrounding them in heaven.
Now, look towards the bottom right, that is hell. I got some tea for you right now. Michelangel was on a whole other level of pettiness when painting this, I am going to tell you why. If you look in the corner, you will notice a naked man with snakes and creepy figures around him. The man in the painting is named Biagio and he was an assistant at The Vatican. He would complain about the naked figures Michelangelo would paint in the Sistine Chapel– so that is why Michelangelo decided to include him in this famous piece of art. That is hilarious!
Well, that is a wrap! I hope you all had a great time on this amazing virtual tour. This was a pretty good one, and I hope to see you all again at The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
About The Author: Sean Boyle
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