Today we travel through time; lots of times actually. We traveled through every historical timeline possible at the Vatican Museum. The museum is large, and so packed with artwork and people that it is hard to see everything. However, there were a few pieces that really spoke to me. Among those being the Laocoon group, a copy of Michelangelo's Pieta, and the Sistine Chapel. These pieces are ones that show movement, emotion, and power.
The Laocoon group sculpture was one that I pushed my way to the front for. This sculpture is one of the Hellenistic movement. This movement is one that seems rather cheesy at times. However, with this three figure piece, you can see the figures working together to create a wonderful composition.
The Sistine Chapel was an experience I had to take in twice; it was magnificent. On the way down to the Chapel, you pass many great art works of Dali, Matisse, and Van Gogh. So many wonderful artists, and than you finally make that last descent before you enter the chapel. Everyone within your group gets quiet, and boom! There is Michelangelo's magnificent Ceiling. Pictures do not do it justice. The colors that Michelangelo used were wonderful! He used a sea foam green in quite a few of the frescos to create the shading and highlights within the artworks. It is just wonderful to see, and so hard to describe the wonderful experience you have when you're in the chapel. This Chapel is completely packed with people. You have no personal space, and the guards are constantly reminding you to be quiet. However, when you are there, you are in a place where a group of like minded people gathered, to worship the one true God. All of the frescos were heavily researched prior to painting them. So Michelangelo, and so many other artists, dug deep into God's word to make sure every single detail within these frescos were perfect for the sake of the like minded people who gathered there. Seeing these frescos is spiritual experience. One that is very hard to explain, but so worth enduring a cattle drive of people twice to see.
Below is Modern art that you see on your way to the Sistine Chapel.
The oxford dictionary defines eternal as: 1. Lasting forever, 2. unchanging, and 3. used to emphasize expressions of admiration. "Eternal City," a city that lives forever, an unchanging city, a city of admiration and dedication? There is no better city to be called the Eternal City than Rome, Italy. Rome is a city that has lasted for centuries. The city is one that is still very classical and old in regards to the architecture. It is also a city that is dedicated to the Roman Catholic Church. Many cities try to take the name of the eternal city, but none can surpass Rome.
Rome has existed for centuries with the myth of how the city was founded of Romulus and Remus. The city was founded in 753 B.C. by these two brothers. The story of Romulus and Remus is one the Romans hold dear. You can read about their story here below.
The founding of Rome created a central hub of misfits at first. People who did not fit in well, or people who were initiative thinkers. With this in mind, I think this created a wonderful foundation for a powerhouse of a city to erupt. Having a group of people who think differently than the norm would create wonderful new out of the box ideas, which would take the entire world to the next level of thinking. With this foundation, Rome has ran with any wonderfully different idea. However, the culture has also created an environment for high expectations as well. Doing what might seem to be the impossible, and making it probable has happened many of times within this culture. This city is one that has always clung to the idea that you can learn from other cultures, or the past of their own. With this idea, the city of Rome is one that is rapidly unchanging. Rome use to be a empire that was known for aspiring new things. However, these new things were only new because someone excessively studied the people before them to make sure that this new thing would be different, yet better. You can see this evidenced all the time in Rome. Walking down the streets, there are many different domes that you will see, and so many arches. This is because the city is one that is constantly trying to improve, but holds tight to its history and heritage.
Last but not least, this is a city that is dedicated to Christ Jesus. Rome is the place where the Vatican City is also located. This is the city where the Bishop of Rome, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church resides. Beyond that, there is a church on every street corner it seems. The churches are beautiful, and taken very good care of. Beyond the churches, a lot of the artwork that exists today are Christian works, and this is most likely due to the fact that the churches have preserved the artwork. However, the art that is the most taken care of seems to be the Christian works. With that being said, these works have been of some importance to the Roman people.
Rome is the eternal city for a myriad of reasons. Rome has been in existence since 753 B.C. The city is one that holds on to its heritage, and learns from it. It is also one that relies on God. With this being said, the Romans have been critical thinkers, had high expectations, and have been very adaptable. Those attributes are why Rome has been so resilient, and can be called the eternal city.
This culture is different in many ways. However, for myself, being from Southern Appalachia, it is quite different. The pace is much faster, the cars have little courtesy, and the crowds are huge. Even with all of the crazy hustle and bustle, THIS IS STILL ROME! A place where Paul the Apostle walked, a place where Constantine legalized Christianity, and is now home to The Vatican. This is Rome!
The next thing that widely differs from Southern Appalachia, is the amount of history within the area. Southern Appalachia is extremely proud of its history. They preserve it, turn it into a state park, or rope it off so people can see if forever. However, the amount of things that could be considered historical is quite small compared to Rome. Here in Rome it seems that everything you touch is historical. There will just be piles of rocks laying in the middle of a court yard, and it is the foundation of an ancient structure. These structures, buildings, and roads are all ones that have tiny bits of history that go back hundreds and thousands of years. Something that I am unaccustomed to.
Yet another thing that has been different from Southern Appalachia is the crowds. There are so many people here! However, these crowds do not mind to get in your personal space. My group and I stopped for Gelato at a tiny shop. However, that shop was completely full of people. When I say completely full, I mean every single person in the shop was being touched by another person, simply because there was not enough room for everyone to stand. Now I understand why in America we have fire codes, and only so many people are allowed within certain spaces.
The last cultural difference is not so different at all from Southern Appalachia. That is it seems as if there is a church on every street corner. However, these churches are huge and very elaborate compared to all of our small Protestant churches. There are many Baroque style churches within Rome. These churches are completely filled with wonderful art on every inch of the structures. It is magnificent. With myself being a protestant Christian, studying these churches during the class, I thought that these churches would seem distracting. I now believe I was wrong. Walking through these churches is spiritual experience. Seeing the biblical iconography everywhere in such beautiful light is just amazing. Even though there are so many differences from Southern Appalachia, these are just the primary differences that seemed to catch my eye while in my first day of Rome.