Friday, June 17, 2011

Rome: Vatican Museum - Sistine Chapel

When we planned our trip, I had anticipated the Sistine Chapel being the highlight of our time at the Vatican. I ensured that we bought a ticket that included the Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel, before cleaning of the ceiling.

I had also heard that it would be shoulder-to-shoulder in there, so I was prepared for that. And actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought as I could stretch my arm outward and barely touch the next person.

The Sistine Chapel is one large room that feel much like a high school gymnasium. There are benches along the two long walls, and just empty space for standing in the rest of the room. The benches were packed with little chance of finding a seat, so we stood.

Every ten seconds or so, a person at the front of the room would announce that no photography is allowed. I always try to be respectful of the rules of my hosts, especially since I am appreciative that they were allowing us to see and enter their most prized possessions. But I was disappointed to see that about every other person was ignoring the 'no photo' rule and taking photos anyway. I mean, do they honestly think they are going to take a better photo than the six trillion other shots of the Sistine Chapel ceiling?

In any case, usually when there is a piece of art that is highly regarded that I don't understand, I usually do understand it after seeing it. Well, I have never understood the appeal of the Sistine Chapel, and I have to say that after viewing it I still don't.
Ceiling after cleaning.

With my apologies to Michelangelo, I just doing think it is very good. The colors are too bright, with too many basic plain preschool-type colors, and the figures themselves are too simplistic.

Maybe I'm the only one on earth who doesn't understand the appeal, I don't know. Shrug. Here are some photos I found and a video. Maybe you'll understand it better than I do.

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