Art Talk: Ceilings in the Vatican

My main goal for going to the Vatican was to see the Sistine Ceiling. I am a huge fan of Michelangelo and wanted to see the ceiling in person. Little did I know that just about every hall (which there are many) has immaculately covered ceilings.

The ceiling in the Hall of Maps is one of the best! I think that a lot of it has to do with the colors of the blues of the maps and the yellows and oranges on the ceiling. It was spectacular.

Raphael Rooms

The other ceilings that deserves some serious attention are in the Raphael Rooms. At about the same time that Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Ceiling (1508-1512) Raphael was in another part of the Vatican painting frescoes in four rooms, which are now called the Raphael Rooms.

Room of the Segnatura
In addition to the great ceiling this room has the School of Athens

Ceiling of the Room of the Segnatura

The School of Athens, 1509-1511

Close up of the ceiling of the Room of the Segnatura

Room of Heliodorus

This was my favorite Raphael Room mostly because The Deliverance of Saint Peter is so spectacular.

Ceiling of the Room of Heliodorus

The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, 1511-1513

Portion Deliverance of Saint Peter, 1514

The painting shows how Saint Peter was liberated from Herod's prison by an angel, as described in Acts 12. 1

Acts 12: 6-7

And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
And, behold, the an angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

Portion Deliverance of Saint Peter, 1514

Before seeing this fresco I didn't realize how gifted Raphael was with chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. 2

I really had to look at this painting for a long time to discern whether it was a paintings or if there were bars and light up over the door.

It is fantastic!

From my last Art Talk post Chihuly at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art a very cool, colorful and modern ceiling by Dale Chihuly.

What is your favorite ceiling?

I would love to see pictures of it.

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