Friday, June 14, 2013

Borgia Apartments, Amazing Matisse and Pinacoteca ~ Musei Vaticani part II

The Borgia Apartments

Over the top and fabulous, is what I would expect of a ceiling, in the Borgia Apartments. And, that's exactly what I got! As you can see, they are doing restorations on the beautiful frescoes.

The frescoes were done by Bernardo di Betto, called il Pinturicchio, a who studied with Raphael, under Perugino. 

After Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) died, work on the apartments ceased and his successor, Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere,) closed them off, not to be reopened until the late 1800s! To say he wasn't a fan of the Borgia Pope, would be a gigantic understatement. Anyway, in 1973, the Borgia Apartments began to house the Vatican's collection of modern religious art.

The Encounter Between St. Anthony Abbot and St. Paul the Hermit
Hall of Saints, Borgia Apartments, 1492-94

Here is a gorgeous Vivaldi violin concerto for you, for your visit ...

How fabulous are these floors?! That Borgia Pope wasn't kidding around, with his renovations. Yes, it's nauseating when you think of all those poor peasants, outside the walls  of the Vatican, while Pope Alexander (Rodrigo de Borgia ) was walking around on these fabulous tiles, in his little pope slippers ... but you have to appreciate the gorgeous design and artistry!

I'm not sure if this particular display of sculptures, below, are always on view but it was quite a beautiful contrast of old and new. And, with the lighting it was quite dramatic!

Bianca, 1938
Francesco Messina 
polychrome terracotta

The Disputation of St. Catherine
It is said that Catherine was modeled after Lucrezia Borgia and the guy in the Turban, on the left, was Alexander's son Cesare.

La Maddalena, 1953 
Francesco Messina 1900 -1995

The Assumption of the Virgin
Hall of Saints
Borgia Apartments, 15th Century

Anna alla finestra (Anna at the window,) 1939
Giovanni Prini 1877 -1958

I was so taken with these sculptures, in this exquisite space, and there was hardly anyone around. I guess, they were all headed to Sistine Chapel. I only saw a handful of people really take in these beautiful rooms, before moving on.

The Nativity Fresco (on right) 1492-94
The Annunciation (left)
Hall of the Mysteries of Faith, Borgia Apartments

Il Colosseo, 1972
Renato Guttuso, 1911 -1987 

As I mentioned in the previous post, seeing some of the contemporary work, in the museum, was quite refreshing. The following room was even more so. It was like lifting a lid off my brain and letting the moths fly out. It felt almost Zen in it's simplicity. 

La Sala Matisse

I didn't remember this room from when I was there before, and it turns out it was unveiled in June of 2011. The large pieces are preparatory sketches by Matisse, that he made for the The Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Vence, on the French Riviera. The art was donated by the artist's son, Pierre Matisse.

Sketch for stain glass window.


Apparently, the following sculpture was too heavy to move, but somehow it works beautifully in the room.

Lucio Fontana, 1899-1968

After the Borgia Apartments, you end up in the Sistine Chapel. Of course, it's incredible and of course, you can't take pictures. I stayed for a while, after getting one of the bench seats along the side of the chapel. I also took in the beauty of the other works, not only Michelangelo's Ceiling and The Last Judgement, but other important works by artists like Botticelli, Signorelli, Rosselli, and Perugino (the famous painting of Jesus handing over the keys to Peter.) 

Oh, and Michelangelo did NOT paint the ceiling lying on his back! He was in a standing position. This, to me, is much worse, because imagine the crick in your neck from looking up, for hours on end! Just saying.

The Pinacoteca
The Painting Gallery

Madonna col Bambino e i Santi Onofrio, Nicol,
Bartolomeo e Giovanni Evangelista, 1371
Giovanni Bonsi, Florence

Il Redentore Benedicente, 1315-1320
Simone Martini, Siena

To tell the truth, old, gothic, religious panels, used to creep me out. But, then I went to Florence in 1996, and somehow all those feelings evaporated, and it all came together for me. I can't really explain it, but being in Italy and seeing them there, put these works in context for me. 

No, it's not my absolute favorite time period for art, but I gained an appreciation for these symbols of faith, the purpose of the iconography and the craft of making these beautiful objects. They must have been so amazing for people to see, in that time, in old Gothic churches ... candles lit and incense burning ... trying to make sense of the world. 

The Stefaneschi Triptych
Created for the high altar in the old St. Peter's Basilica
Giotto di Bondone and assistants 
(In the middle panel, in red, is Saint Peter)

Below, is the reverse of the triptych, with Christ in the center, an the martyrdoms of Peter, on the left panel, and Paul on the right.

Coronation of the Virgin, with angels, saints and donors,1444
Filipo Lippi, (Florence 1406 - Spoleto 1469) 

These paintings, below, were quite small. Maybe 8 x 10"? There was something about them ... I was just taken. Enchanted even. I don't even know who painted them. Not sure if the information was on the wall, or not. 

I must have thought the artist's name was on the frame, but it just indicates they are of the Florentine School, and the subject matter.

The Birth of Saint John 
The Florentine School

The Visitation (with Mary and Elizabeth)
Florentine School

Madonna del Davanzale
Bernardino di Betto, called il Pinuricchio, 1454-1513

Raffaello Sanzio
Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520

Madonna of Foligno, 1511-1512 (left)
Transfiguration, 1516 - 1520 (center)
Coronation of the Virgin, 1502 -1503 (right)

Detail from the Transfiguration. Look at the gorgeous robes of Moses on the right! And, that beautiful figure, below, shielding his eyes from the light ... 

Below, a detail of Saint Francis, from the Madonna of Foligno

Il Seppellimento di Cristo (The burial of Christ)
Giovanni Bellini, 1430 -1516

Il Redentore, (The Redeemer) 1522
Antonio Allegri called il Correggio, (1489 - 1534)

St. Jerome, unfinished
Leonardo di Vinci

La Fama (Fame)
Alessandro Varotari, called Padovanino

And here are two of my favorites ...

The Entombment of Christ, 1602 -1603
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571-1610)

Saint Matthew The Evangelist 
Guido Reni, 1585 -1642

After the painting gallery, I had a little time left, which is when I went to the carriage museum, which I wrote about here.

A very wet Saint Peter's Square ...

After meeting meeting up with my Instagram friend Laura, I was so tired, but knew I should eat something. It had been many hours since my pig out at Pizzarium. I took the metro back to the Barberini station and near my little hotel found this cute little restaurant, called Sofie.

I was so tired but the ladies who worked there were very sweet. I just ordered a little salad and some grilled veggies. I don't think I even ordered wine.

And then I was off to bed. I'd been in Rome for a week and there was still so much to see and do! ... The Cappuccini museum, The Church of San Clemente, Maxxi, and the best gelato I've ever had! All in the next two days, before heading to Umbria.

Here is a very short video about the opening of the Matisse Room ...

Have an amazing beautiful weekend!!!
Blessings and light!


Kerry O'Gorman said...

I think I could live with those tiled floors and walk across them in my little slippers! It must be exhausting being around all of the intense beauty, almost overload, but in a good must have gone to bed dreaming of religion!

Joop Zand said...

Thats a beautiful serie Lucinda..... thanks for this great post.

Greetings, Joop

rjerdee said...

OMG, Lucinda! What a treat!!!! I am currently watching the Faith & Fear version of the Borgia saga...for the second time. And the Matisse treat! Matisse is my all time favorite artist. Well, except for Agnes Martin, maybe. I can't believe they let you shoot all those pictures in the Vatican!!! Do they really allow it?

Unknown said...

I've seen them of course
thanks for loving my beautiful Italy

shayndel said...

Oh, how exquisite!
And the music...
the light...
the shadows!
Thank you for sharing this amazing ...feast !
I can see why you might want to eat something simple, there is so much to savor with all the senses,
and yet the simple cuisine too is a work of art...
Happy travels,
blessings to you!

donna baker said...

Lucinda, I wish I could travel with you. I love knowing all the history and details; I can't ever find my notes when I need them. So beautiful. I definitely need to go back to Rome. I think I could see it more clearly a second time. I will miss seeing Cesare in the Borgias. Did you post, at one time, about things to do in LA? Let me know as my friend will be there the July 4th week.

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