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St. Peter's Basilica postcard view

the Pieta postcard view

Sistine Chapel postcard view

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VATICAN CITY ..I figured because I was so familiar with Notre Dame in Paris that St. Peter's wouldn't be so impressive. Well, I was wrong. Notre Dame is lovely with its Gothic architecture and stained glass windows. But, St. Peter's Basilica was a breathtaking Renaissance church. It had over 160,000 square feet. All of that was filled with marble, statues, and other art treasures.

And, it didn't hurt any to have Michelangelo as one of the artists whose work was displayed there. In fact, as soon as I walked in, I looked to the right. There was Michelangelo's "Pieta". I'd seen photos of this statue before, but they never did it justice. It was incredible.

The tour of the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel took a couple of hours. It was all very beautiful, but the people at the museum knew what to show and when to show it. Next to the last stop was a huge mural by Raphael. I'd seen it before and knew that some famous people including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were all painted into the scene.

The last stop was the Sistine Chapel. I won't even try to describe it. But, I learned an interesting story. Michelangelo didn't even want to paint the ceiling. He considered himself a sculptor, not a painter. However, the pope had different ideas about that. Michelangelo and the pope argued for two years. And, what made Michelangelo finally do the painting? It was a pretty powerful pope. He scared away everyone else who might have offered Michelangelo work to do. When there were no other jobs available, Michelangelo finally did the painting.

Copyright 2007 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.