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EXPLORATIONS - At the Vatican, Some of the World's Greatest Art

Written by Jerilyn Watson -- Wednesday, April 18, 2012 -- Views:

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The Sistine Chapel at the Vatican
The Sistine Chapel at the Vatican

FAITH LAPIDUS: I'm Faith Lapidus.

MARIO RITTER:  And I'm Mario Ritter with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. The Vatican in Rome is the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. But the Vatican is more than a religious and administrative center. Over the centuries, church leaders gathered priceless objects including books, documents, paintings and sculptures. Come with us now as we join the millions of people who explore the Vatican Museums every year.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS:  As you enter the Vatican Museums, you pass through large sculptured doors. When the light shines just the right way, bronze squares in the doors seem to catch fire. The artist Cecco Bonanotte created the doors in nineteen ninety-nine. He produced them for the opening celebration of the new entrance to the Vatican Museums in two thousand. But other works here are much older.

There are vases and jars with beautiful artwork created more than two thousand years ago. Statues and paintings show heroes of ancient Troy and Athens. Paintings and cloth textiles reproduce the world of the sixteenth century.

Sometimes experts remove objects to repair them. And some objects may be loaned temporarily to other museums. But there are always many interesting and beautiful objects to see at the Vatican Museums.

MARIO RITTER:  If you ever wanted to visit all the Vatican collections in a day, you would have to run. And you would still not really see much of anything. There are, after all, more than twenty museums and public art centers. Today we tell about a few of the most interesting works of art.

The Gallery of the Maps is a good place to start. Forty walls have maps of the world as Italians believed it looked like in the sixteenth century. Ignazio Danti of Perugia painted the maps in the fifteen hundreds.

FAITH LAPIDUS:  Another museum, the Gallery of the Tapestries, tells picture stories in wall hangings. These tapestries are made of two materials: silk and wool. They were designed from drawings by the artist Raphael and possibly his students.

Works by Raphael deeply influenced painters of the Italian Renaissance. The period represented a rebirth of artistic development.  There are more works by Raphael in other Vatican areas.

But on this visit, a border tapestry by Flemish artist Pieter van Aelst picturing the four seasons captures your interest. The artist represents spring with two young people in love. A woman holding wheat is summer. Van Aelst sees fall as small boys climbing grape vines. The image of a seated person almost fully hidden by clothing captures the cold and loneliness of winter.

(MUSIC)

MARIO RITTER:  Roman Catholic Church leaders established several of the Vatican Museums during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In eighteen thirty-nine, Pope Gregory the Sixteenth established the Vatican Egyptian Museum. Objects created long ago fill its nine rooms. The artworks were found in and around Rome. They had been brought from Egypt.

The first room in the Egyptian museum welcomes visitors to the world of the pharaohs, who ruled ancient Egypt. You see a statue of Ramses the Second. He sits on a throne, a ceremonial chair. He looks very much like a powerful ruler. A very tall statue of the mother of Ramses looks over another room in the Egyptian museum.

FAITH LAPIDUS:  The Vatican Museums also exhibit objects from an ancient land called Etruria. This area is now part of northern Italy. Most historians believe that Etruscan society reached its height more than two thousand five hundred years ago. The Etruscans created fine art with terra cotta, or baked clay.

Pope Gregory the Sixteenth established the Etruscan Museum in eighteen thirty-seven. The collection includes vases and objects made of bronze and gold. It also includes statues of full human bodies and sculptures representing heads. In addition, you can see objects that added beauty to the Etruscan temples, or religious centers.

(MUSIC)

MARIO RITTER:  Next we visit the Chiaramonti Museum, established by Pope Pius the Seventh. The pope's name was Chiaramonti before he was chosen to lead the church. This museum has almost one thousand ancient works of art, including statues of Roman gods.

The Chiaramonti Museum is sometimes closed to the public. But when inside, you can see a statue called "Augustus of Prima Porta." The Roman ruler holds his right arm high in the air. Art experts say the Emperor Augustus was making a victory sign. Or, the statue may have once held a weapon. The statue was found in eighteen sixty-three in the ancient home of Livia, the wife of Augustus.

FAITH LAPIDUS:  Now we are in the Pio-Clementine Museum, founded by Pope Clement the Fourteenth in seventeen seventy. It is filled with Greek and Roman sculptures. One interesting statue is the Laocoon. The subject of the statue is from the "Aeneid" by Virgil, the most famous poet of ancient Rome.

The poem is about the ancient war between Greece and Troy. The sculpture shows the Trojan priest Laocoon and his sons being crushed to death by sea snakes. The artists have made the terrible pain of the dying man and boys look very real.

MARIO RITTER:  Some visitors believe the works of Raphael are the most beautiful in the Vatican Museums. In fifteen-oh-eight, Pope Julius the Second asked Raphael to cover the walls and ceiling of some of the Pope's private living areas.

One of Raphael's most famous paintings is "The School of Athens." It shows famous Greek thinkers and scientists. Raphael painted these people teaching and gathered around the philosophers Plato and Aristotle.

Some experts say Raphael painted the image of the artist Michelangelo into this work. That may be true. Michelangelo was clearly in Raphael's thoughts at times. In a way, the two men competed. Pope Julius probably understood that the competition incited each man to the height of his greatness.

Julius so liked the work of Raphael that he told the artist to remove earlier paintings in the Pope's living areas. But Raphael understood the value of the work of others. He saved the work of great artists including Perugino.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS:  We have saved the best for last.  We enter the Sistine Chapel -- the official private church of the popes. It is the most famous part of the Vatican Museums. Pope Sixtus the Fourth had it built in the fourteen seventies.

Major events involving Roman Catholic Church leaders take place in the Sistine Chapel. For example, in April of two thousand five, top church officials held a historic meeting in this center for prayer. They chose a new pope, Benedict the Sixteenth. But the chapel also is home to some of the finest paintings ever created.

MARIO RITTER:  On the side walls are paintings by the greatest Italian artists. But when we enter the Sistine Chapel, we look up to see the most beautiful ceiling in the world. In fifteen-oh-eight, Pope Julius the Second asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The result was a series of paintings called "The Creation of the Universe" and the "History of Humanity."

The ceiling is an artistic wonder. Michelangelo produced more than fifty paintings that show more than three hundred people. The paintings show God creating Adam, the first man. They also show stories from Christianity's holy book, the Bible. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling. He painted it while lying on his back.

In the fifteen thirties, Pope Paul the Third asked Michelangelo to paint the wall of the Sistine Chapel above the altar. This is the structure where religious ceremonies are performed. Between fifteen thirty-six and fifteen forty-one, Michelangelo painted "The Last Judgment."

FAITH LAPIDUS:  This huge painting includes three hundred people. Christ is shown as the judge of good and evil. The painting shows some good people rising to heaven. But other people are condemned.

They are shown falling or being forced by ugly creatures into hell, where they are tortured forever. Some people find this work beautiful. Others find it frightening.

But almost everyone agrees that ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the "Last Judgment" are the most famous works of art ever created.

MARIO RITTER:  Now it is time to come back to the world of the twenty-first century. There are many other wonderful works in the Vatican Museums. But they will still be there on another day, and many days to come.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS:  This program was written by Jerilyn Watson.  I'm Faith Lapidus with Mario Ritter who was also our producer.  Join us next week for another EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English.

Reader's Comments (0):
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Author: 博文009
探索—梵蒂冈的一些世界级艺术品罗马的梵蒂冈是世界天主教的总部,然而,梵蒂冈远远不只是宗教和行政中心。在过去的几个世纪里,宗教领袖们搜集了许多无价之宝,包括书籍、文件资料、绘画和雕塑等。现在,让我们和每年数以万计的探索者一起来观赏梵蒂冈博物馆吧。当你走进梵蒂冈博物馆,穿过巨大的雕刻门时,在门的正右边刚好灯光照耀,铜铸的正方型大门仿佛着火了。在1999年,考克•堡乐呢特设计了这个大门。他为庆祝梵蒂冈博物馆进入21世纪而制造了这个大门。但是其他作品依旧未变,保持古老的遗风。那儿有在2000多年前制作的精美的艺术品——花瓶和广口瓶、展示特洛伊和雅典英雄气质的雕塑和绘画。绘画和衣服质地再现了16世纪的世界。有时,专家们从博物馆移走物品进行修缮,一些文物也许被暂时存放在其他的博物馆。但是在梵蒂冈博物馆总有无数吸引人的、美丽的古董供人们参观。
Author: 博文009
如果你想在一天之内观赏完梵蒂冈博物馆收藏的所有的文物,你就不得不走马观花,一无所获。在那儿,由20多个博物馆和公众艺术中心。今天,我们参观一些最有价值和吸引力的艺术品。地图画廊是最适合参观开始的地方。40多面世界地图画壁如同意大利人认为的16世纪的世界。是葡萄牙人伊纳吉欧•地提在15世纪绘制了这幅地图。另一个博物馆,挂毯走廊,讲述了挂在墙壁上的画中的一个个故事。这些挂毯用丝绸和羊毛制成。挂毯中的画是依照拉斐尔和他的学生的画作织造的。拉斐尔的作品对文艺复兴时期意大利的画家产生了深刻的影响,这一时期的代表就是艺术的发展和复兴。在梵蒂冈博物馆存放着许多拉斐尔的作品。在这次参观中,最感兴趣的一幅宏大的挂毯,是由佛兰德艺术家皮特•文•额尔斯特绘制的四季掠景。艺术大师用两个热恋中的年轻人表达春天的气息;一个妇女手捧丰收的麦穗表达夏天的火热;文•额尔斯特的妙笔用几个爬在葡萄藤上的小孩描述秋天的韵律;用坐着藏在衣服中的人们的肖像暗示冬日的苍凉。
Author: 博文009
在18和19世纪里,罗马天主教的主教们建造了许多梵蒂冈博物馆。在1839年,教皇格雷戈里十六世建造了罗马-埃及博物馆。收藏的远古珍品摆满了九间屋子。这些艺术品有的是在全罗马境内搜集的,有的是从埃及运来的。在埃及博物馆的第一个展厅里,欢迎游客的是世界的法老,古埃及的统治者。你可以瞻仰拉美西斯二世的雕像。他看上去好似手握权柄的统治者。高大的拉美西斯的母亲的雕像在埃及博物馆的另一个大厅内可供游人观赏。梵蒂冈博物馆内还展出来自古代伊特鲁利亚的文物,这一地区现在是意大利北部的一部分。许多历史学家认为在2500多年以前的伊特鲁利亚社会已经发展到了非常高的文明程度,伊特鲁利亚人用粘土和烘焙的泥土制作精美的艺术品。
Author: 博文009
在1837年,教皇格雷戈里十六世建造了伊特里亚博物馆,珍藏了许多精美的花瓶、铜器和金器,还有一部分人物全身雕像和头像雕塑。同时,你还可以领略伊特鲁利亚神庙和宗教中心的精致珍藏品。我们参观那蒙蒂博物馆吧,它是由庇护七世建造的。这个人名叫那蒙蒂,以前被推举领导教廷。这个博物馆收藏了差不多1000多件古代艺术品,包括罗马众神的雕像。有时候,拉蒙提博物馆对公众关闭,但是当你踏入馆内,你可以看到奥古斯都的雕塑。罗马的统治者将他们的权柄高举在天。艺术家们说是奥古斯都皇帝显示一种胜利的信号,或者,这个雕塑可能曾经塑有武器。这个雕塑于1863年在奥古斯都的妻子利维亚的古墓中发现。
Author: 博文009
现在,我们进入了裴傲•克莱门氏博物馆,是由克雷蒙特十四世教皇在1770年修建的。博物馆内装满了古希腊和古罗马的雕塑。拉奥孔雕像是其中最有艺术价值的一件,此雕像是维吉尔从埃涅伊德获得的,维吉尔曾是古埃及最著名的诗人。这些诗篇是描述古代希腊和特洛伊战争场面的。这些雕塑再现了特洛伊神父拉奥孔和他的儿子被海蛇压碎的情景,艺术家用其神来之笔刻画了拉奥孔和儿子恐惧、惨痛的死亡表情。有些访客认为拉斐尔的杰作是梵蒂冈博物馆中最具魅力和感染力的艺术品。在15世纪或者在18世纪,朱利叶斯二世教皇命令拉斐尔用其巧夺天工的手用精美的画覆盖了他的私人宫殿的部分墙壁和天花板,
Author: 博文009
“雅典的学校”是拉斐尔画作中最著名的一幅,在画中描绘了古希腊的思想家和科学家。拉斐尔描述了人们聚集在哲学家柏拉图和亚里斯多德周围讲学、聆听的场景。有些专家说,拉斐尔把艺术巨匠米开朗基罗的想象天赋有机的融入到了自己的创作中,那也许是真实的。那时,米开朗基罗在拉斐尔的脑海里是非常清晰的。在某种程度上,这两个人又是相互竞争的。朱利叶斯教皇也许明白在他的至高无上的统治集团中每个人之间相互竞争所带来的激发作用。朱利叶斯非常喜欢拉斐尔的作品,一致于他要求艺术家们去掉了他的宫殿中的旧画。但是拉斐尔深知其他人的作品的价值之所在,他拯救了包括佩鲁基洛在内的一些艺术巨匠的作品。 “狮子滚绣球,好的在后头”,我们进入了教皇的官方私人教堂——梵蒂冈博物馆中最著名的部分。是教皇西克斯图斯四世在1470年兴建的。
Author: 博文009
主要的事件包括罗马天主教领袖在西克斯图斯教堂宣誓就职。例如,在2005年4月,教堂的高级职员在这个中心举行了历史性的祈祷仪式。他们选举了新的教皇,本尼迪克特十六世。但是,对那些曾经最优秀的绘画大师来说,教堂是他们创作的家园。在另一面墙上,是意大利最伟大的艺术家们创作的画。最奇妙的是,当我们进入西克斯图斯教堂时,我们可以仰观世界上最美丽的天花顶,在15世纪或18世纪,教皇朱利叶斯二世要求米开朗基罗装绘了西克斯图斯教堂的天顶。绘画由一系列叫做“创世纪”和“人类的历史”画幅所组成。天花顶是艺术家所创造的奇迹,米开朗基罗创作了50多幅画作,描述了300 多个人物。画中描绘了上帝创造第一个人亚当的场景、基督教圣典——《圣经》中的迷人故事等。这一巨大艺术天花顶工程花费了米开朗基罗四年的时间,仰面朝堂精心绘制而成的。
Author: 博文009
在1530年,教皇蒲伯三世要求米开朗基罗绘制西克斯图斯祭坛的墙壁,一些宗教仪式在这个建筑内举行。在1536年和1540年之间,米克朗基罗创作了“最后的审判”。这幅巨大的绘画作品描绘了300多个人物,完美的解释了基督审判善于恶的情景。画中描绘了善良正义之人升入天堂,邪恶奸悯之人下到地狱的场景。画中逼真的显示了恶人被恶鬼抓到地狱,永远受严刑拷打之苦的情景。有些人发现他的作品精美无比,有些人却感到毛骨悚人。但几乎每一个人都认为西克斯图斯教堂的天花顶和“最后的审判”是至今最著名的艺术杰作。现在,是我们回到21世纪的时候了,在梵蒂冈博物馆有许多杰作,但他们和历史一起凝结、定格在那儿,直到永远。
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