Religious Art in Vatican

Vatican is a country, which came into existence in 1929 due to the Lateran Treaty; it was previously part of a Papal States. Vatican has an elected monarchy that is ruled by the Bishop of Rome (Pope). In Vatican only clergymen of the Catholic Church are given highest state of positions. Vatican is also known as the Holy See. Vatican City can be assumed to be the governmental capital of the Catholic Church. Vatican is located on the Vatican Hill in the west-central part of Rome, numerous hundred meters west of the Tiber River.

A border or walls is closely built around the Vatican City so that Popes living inside Vatican City could be protected from an out side attack. “Vatican is the world’s smallest independent state covering an area of 0. 44 square kilometers”. As Vatican is part of Rome its weather or temperature is similar to as Rome’s; the temperature in “Vatican has a Mediterranean climate with mild autumn , rainy winters from September to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to August.

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Vatican has a population of 558 citizens who either live inside the Vatican’s walls or serve in the Vatican’s diplomatic group in embassies called “nunciatures”. Vatican’s state religion is Catholicism all the places of worship inside Vatican City are Catholic”. (Vatican City – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) The Vatican has no predefined official language; the Pope can change the language any time. The language often used for authoritative version of official documents is Latin In spite of this Italian is used by lesser level people, for conversations, publications, and broadcasts and even by few documents.

Even before Christianity Vatican was considered as one of the most sacred places, it was amongst the holy places in Rome or at least not available for habitation. “In 326, the first church, the Constantinian basilica, was built over the site. After the construction of the first church Vatican started becoming populated and people started inhabitation area around the church”. (Vatican City – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) But mostly only by dwelling houses related with the interest of St. Peter’s. Popes in the beginning governed or ruled a large portion of the Italian peninsula through Papal State.

This kind of rule was going on from thousands of year until the mid 19th century. Between 1861 and 1929 Popes were not disturbed in their palace of Papal and given certain recognitions by the Law of Guarantees. As the Popes did not recognize the Italian kings rule and were not ready to leave the Vatican compound. Italian king and the other states thus continued to sustain international recognition of the Holy See as an independent state. As the Vatican City has always been classified as sacred or holy land.

To suggest the sacredness of Vatican we can look at the “the portrait of Jesus Christ on the cover of the great library book of Vatican” (magazine). At early ages to capture the views and to preserve culture and religion people (Popes, priests) used to sketch what they saw. So that it could be passed on to future generation thus Vatican is a state with numerous kinds of religious art. To prevent and exhibit these master pieces government has built several museums amongst which the world renowned ones are given below.

Gregorian Egyptian Museum This Museum is amongst the first museums constructed in Vatican this museum was founded by Pope Gregorio XVI in 1839. Its structure and interiors is done according to the directions of the Italian Egyptologist, father L. M. Ungarelli. “The works are hosted inside the palace of Innocenzo VIII in the rooms with frescoes realized by artists such as Barocci and Zuccari and with the famous terrace of the “Nicchione Della Pigna”” (RomeViva). The museum contains a Collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt, imperial Rome, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine.

There are nine rooms in the museum which contain religious artifacts every room contains pieces off art which are located according to the years they were formed. For example the first room contains artifacts from the period of 2600 before Christ – 600 after Christ and in the same way the second room contains art pieces from the time 600 before Christ – 200 after Christ. The Gregorian Egyptian Museum contains some of the most famous pieces which have contributed a lot in understanding the history and the development in the process of religion.

There are many pieces in this museum amongst them some important ones are Statue of the priest, dja-Hor-res-ne, mummy in its case of Tebe, Deir el-Bahri. Gregorian Etruscan Museum In 1837 another museum came into existence known as the Gregorian Etruscan Museum constructed by the pontificate of Gregorio XVI. This museum has nine rooms every room contains artifacts collected from Terrie and Lazio. This museum contains pieces of art like the “Gold fibula The fibula’s center piece is decorated with five lions – 390K; the two gold pieces are joined with textile material – 369K. hen there is Statue of Mars of TodiThe statue is believed to have been executed in the 4th century B. C. ; it was discovered in 1835 and it is considered to be representative for the technical level of the Etruscan bronze work, which was held in high esteem by their contemporaries. ” (Gregorian Etruscan Museum) Sistine Chapel Then there is Sistine chapel’s ceiling painted by Michelangelo in 1508 he was asked by Pope Julius II Della Rovere to paint it.

Michelangelo with his imagination painted a view of the Last Judgment over the altar, between 1535 and 1541. This wall painting covers the entire ceiling of the chapel. On the ceiling Michelangelo has painted portraits which portray the life of Christ and life of Moses, it shows the image of a virgin and it even represents the Ancestors of Christ frescoed. This is the best example to show that how religious art can be helpful to transfers culture, religion, ideologies of the past for the future.

Raphael’s Rooms There are four rooms known as Raphael rooms as he and his pupils decorated these rooms of the Pontifical Palace between 1508 and 1524. Raphael’s rooms are on the second floor of the Vatican palace that was chosen by Julius II della Rovere, the Pope as his own residence and is now also used by his successors as there residence. Pinacoteca The new Vatican Pinacoteca was inaugurated on 27 October 1932 the structure to be in future known as pinacotea was especially constructed by the architect Luca Beltrami for PiusXI.

This museum “was built in the nineteenth century Square Garden, isolated and completely surrounded by avenues, in a place considered suitable for assuring the best lighting conditions for both the correct preservation of the works and their optimum aesthetic enhancement. Thus the age-old question of the exhibition of the paintings, which were constantly moved around the Apostolic Palaces due to the lack of a setting that matched their importance, was solved ” At first only a collection of 118 precious paintings was created by Pope Pius VI in 1790.

Gradually with time, several other paintings accompanied the 118 paintings and are now exhibited at Pinacoteca Conclusion Thus, it can be concluded that Vatican is a place with an extremely large collection of religious art. Every piece is an antique and is very expensive even priceless. A lot of effort and money is spend on the maintenance of these artifacts and if one wants to a get spiritual boost he must visit Vatican to increase his knowledge of religion.

As every piece has some meaningful text hidden, which is waiting to be interpreted and every interpretations leads to a fact about religion. “ugliness, which we must keep in mind in judging art; distinct, however, from that technical ignorance, accompanied with great purity and power of sentiment, noticeable in many of early masters, and which exalts their work proportionately. ”(Old masters) The writer even suggests that painting has more power on the minds then words.

Works Cited

http://www.romaviva.com/Vaticano/museo-gregoriano-egizio_eng.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City