Yippee! For those who know me, I love art. To be more specific, I love paintings and sculptures. That is why I had the “awesomest” time when we went to the Sistine chapel, (in the Vatican; painted by Michelangelo), the Uffizi, (one of the most visited art museums in the world. Lol, I had never heard of it until then), the Louvre, (I’m sure you know what that is), and Musée D’Orsay (home of the Van Goghs). I’m not going to go through details on how we got there, how I felt, how crowded it was, gabi gabi… I’m just going to focus on the art. Now, starting in order.
Vatican, Sistine Chapel
We arrived at the Sistine chapel which was famous for it’s painted ceiling and walls. Here is what the ceiling looked like:
That kind of painting method is called fresco, which is one of the, if not the hardest painting method there is. You have to use a very special kind of paint and you paint on a wet material. Michelangelo had to paint the roof using the fresco technique. He had a few problems though: on the way he ran out of funds so he had to go to the pope in a whole new part of Italy to receive more money to finish the ceiling. Also, he had to tear up part of the ceiling half way through because spots of mildew were appearing. Also, when he finally finished the ceiling, (which took him four years or so I think) he couldn’t move his neck because after looking up for a year or two, the muscles stiffened so it became very tough to finish. But, after years of hard work, he finished the ceiling and it is an art masterpiece. The most famous piece of this ceiling is the centre panel where The Lord’s finger is about to touch Adam’s.
The panel is called, The Creation of Adam. Not only is this panel known for its amazing paint job, but for its significant, symbolic meaning as well. This fresco represents the biblical description of God breathing life into man. Some say as well that you’ll notice God’s hand has not yet touched Adam’s which possibly suggests that the spark of life is being transmitted across the small gap between their fingers. But let’s look at the way Michelangelo painted the hands.
Could this painting represent Adam and God reaching towards each other or letting go of each other? If they’re reaching towards each other, this image could symbolize the mutual desire of God and humanity for one another. If they’re letting go, this fresco could be showing humanity’s independence or separation from God. Now, if you’re getting bored with all this info, skip ahead now, because there is more information coming. If you look at the hand gestures that The Lord and Adam are making, Adam’s hand almost looks relaxed to go with his lounging posture. Michelangelo may have done this on purpose to show that maybe God hasn’t given life to Adam yet and he is simply a motionless figure, which does go slightly against The Bible because according to The Bible, God lifted man from the dust of the earth, and that man was not just lying there waiting to come to life. Now God’s hand is pretty much the opposite. In contrast to Adam’s lazy pose, God looks like a dynamic, active figure. This could be because God is still hard at work with his amazing creation of earth, heaven, animals, and mankind.
But what about the semi-weird figures that just happen to be floating around God?
Could those be angels, or on the contrary, possibly represent biblical figures? The woman and child on God’s left could be more significant than the others, shown by the way God wraps his arm around the woman and touches the child. It is possible this woman is Eve, which would make sense since Eve is Adam’s wife. But, on the other hand (metaphorically, not literally on God’s other hand), the woman could be the Virgin Mary making the child possibly baby Jesus, whom the Bible refers to as Second Adam. Also, it is possible, if the child is baby Jesus, he could be looking away from Adam cause he knows Adam will eat the fruit, which will then cause the death of Jesus to pay the price for or sin. As you can see, Michelangelo hid deeper meaning in the fresco than meets the eye, but if you learn the meaning of this panel, if you visit the Sistine chapel, the roof will be a heck of a lot more interesting. (Information sourced from Study.com)
The Sistine chapel also is home to one other very well known Michelangelo painting. The Last Judgment.
This painting shows the final decision made by God which decides whether you can enter heaven or go to hell. This painting is an amazing painting but it is not the way Michelangelo originally painted it. If you look closely, you’ll notice that all the “private” parts are barely covered in a small piece of cloth or something. Michelangelo actually painted the male parts in the painting but the priest thought that was inappropriate for a chapel so instead of disposing of the painting, he ordered for people to paint clothes over the “private” parts. I don’t know how Michelangelo reacted to this but I imagine he would be quite infuriated with this.
Can you find the devil in this painting?
It is the horrid looking, beast like creature in hell, looking as though he was going to kill the people in front of him with a paddle.
Michelangelo painted a self portrait of himself in this painting, only he painted himself as a scary looking, almost hallowe’en costume. Can you find it?
I’m not sure why Michelangelo painted himself like this but I do know if you look closely, he is half way between heaven and hell. Interesting, huh?
As you probably know, it is hard to describe an art museum, more specifically, it’s contents using words. If I went through what we saw at the Uffizi using words, it would take very loooonnnnnggggg and this blog would turn into a good story to tell your kids so they can fall asleep. So, I’m not going to use words, I’m going to use pictures. After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
At the Louvre, we saw the nine “must sees”:
Raft of medusa
Venus de milo
Coronation of emperor napolion
Oath of hori
The wedding feast at Cana
And low and behold, the Mona Lisa
Of coarse there were many others too.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay
And finally, we went to Musée d’Orsay.
Musée d’Orsay is home to Van Gogh’s most well known masterpiece, his own self portrait.
And starry night version I.
starry night version I is different than version II
This was an amazing trip through the history of art that I will not soon forget!