Sunday, February 19, 2006

Old St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel

We just went to an exhibit on objects from the Vatican. They mostly had works of art having to do with St. Peter and the popes, but also about St. Peter's Basilica - both the old one (built by Constantine) and the new one (built during the Renaissance). We also got to talk to a nice volunteer who told us a lot about Old St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel and answered our questions we had about them.

They had a neat model of the Old St Peter's at the exhibit - we found a drawing of it on the Internet (shown above with link to the site). I was excited to see it, because I never knew what it looked like and we were just reading about it yesterday. Old St. Peter's was built in the 300s at the place where St. Peter died, which was a Roman circus (it's not a circus with clowns and jugglers, it's more like the Colosseum - they might have chariot races and gladiator fights and things like that). Around 1450, the pope decided to take it down because it was falling apart. From 1475-1483 they built a chapel and when it was completed, the pope hired Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, and Perugino to paint the walls on the sides of the chapel. They painted the ceiling blue with stars. In 1508, another pope, hired Michelangelo to paint frescoes of the twelve apostles on the ceiling. After he started the work, Michelangelo decided that he didn't like them and came up with a different idea that we can see today. He finished the frescoes in 1512.

The groundbreaking for the new St. Peter's Basilica was in 1506 and it was consecrated in 1626.

Terri adds her own commentary about something that impressed her at the exhibit:

We saw the Mandylion [hat tip - Mrs. Brown]. The frame was made only out of gold, silver and jewels. It had angels on each side - their wings were gold and their bodies were silver. The picture was of God's face. It was really neat.


rhapsody said...

Thank you for posting- your site is very interesting & informative!

Ria said...

Oh I LOVED the mandylion. It was one of the first paintings of Jesus. It may be that the artist actually saw Jesus. Anyways it was beautiful. Terri was obviously very impressed with the frame but that was nothing to the actual painting. I first heard of the Mandylion from the book titled, The Weka Feather Cloak, in which the mandylion plays an important role. After reading that great book I had high expectations for how the mandylion would look, and I was not dissapointed.

Nancy C. Brown said...

I found a link to a picture of the mandylion. I thought it was amazing, too.