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The Art of Vatican Museum

Updated on July 22, 2019
akshayraven profile image

I am a traveller. Bit by the travel bug. Love to explore the world. Wandering to learn about new cultures.

Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum | Source

The Vatican is the smallest country in the world and was founded by Pope Julius II. It is one of the famous tourist destinations in Italy with over four million tourists who come every year to explore the city. It is called the smallest country because it has a population count of only 842 and its measures are only about 44 hectares.

The Vatican city consists of a number of museums with the greatest art collections in the world. These museums exhibit displays in long halls and corridors, consisting of Egyptian mummies, Etruscan bronzes, Ancient busts, old and modern paintings. There are so many things to see in the Vatican museum that if I start mentioning them here, the page will over flood.

Whether you are visiting it for the first time or you have limited time, there are some things you will see no matter how you are visiting the place but you sure want to see the highlights. So here are some of the important art of the Vatican museum you should not miss.


Raphael’s Masterpiece

Raphael’s masterpiece, "The Transfiguration" was his last work before his death and is one of the most iconic paintings in the Vatican museum. The Transfiguration depicts the dual human and divine nature of Jesus Christ and is related to some of the stories of the Gospel of Matthew. The top half of the painting is of light colors while the bottom half is dark displaying Jesus flanked by the prophets, Elijah and Moses. The painting was originally meant to be an altarpiece in France, but the pope decided to keep it in Rome. But lucky for us, it was wound up in the Pinacoteca of the Vatican museum.


Masterpieces in Vatican museum
Masterpieces in Vatican museum | Source

The Sistine Chapel

The main reason people come to visit the Vatican museum is because of the beauty of the Sistine Chapel. A visit to the Vatican museum is incomplete without exploring the Sistine Chapel. It lies at the very end of the museum, so there is no chance you would miss it. The Sistine Chapel displays the series of paintings of famous painter, Michelangelo, on the ceiling. The ceiling has 9 scenes from the book of Genesis. And the most popular painting in this series, rather say the one of the most iconic paintings known all over the world, is the “Creation of Adam”.

You can see Michelangelo's other great artworks in this room such as the “The Last Judgement”. The painting was finished much later because Michelangelo was busy designing St. Peter’s Basilica. He painted “The Last Judgement” after the Sack of Rome in 1527 which shows the second coming of Christ. There are various other masterpieces you can see in the Chapel so take the time to look at other panels on the ceiling too.


Sistine Chapel's Ceiling view
Sistine Chapel's Ceiling view | Source

The Pinecone Courtyard

The Pinecone courtyard or Cortile dellan Pigna is a 13-foot high pinecone located at one end of the museum. It is made up of bronze and dates back to the 1st century. It was sculpted with two bronze peacocks on either side of the pinecone which are copies of ancient sculptures that are flanked on Castel Sant’Angelo. You can see the originals in the Braccio Nuovo wing of the Vatican museum.


The Pinecone courtyard
The Pinecone courtyard | Source

The Spiral Staircase

Designed by Bramante, this staircase is very special. It is a double helix structure, like our DNA and is composed of two staircases that allow you to go up and down without crossing other people. But now it is only intended as an exit from the Vatican museums. Usually, you will not exit through this staircase but enters from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter’s Basilica, if you are not visiting through a tour company. So it’s better if you book your tickets and tour before visiting the place and ask your guide to take you to the staircase. It will be a win-win for sure because you don’t have to wait in long queues too. ;)


The spiral staircase
The spiral staircase | Source

Go check it out and don’t forget to take your cameras and phones with you. Click a lot of pics and do a lot of shopping. You can even buy things from the shop or gift galleries inside the museum. As I mentioned earlier, there are more things than these which you can see in the museums. It’s better to see it yourself than to read about it.


Plan your trip and enjoy your vacay. Don’t forget to write me about your experiences in the comment section below.


© 2019 Akshay Kumar

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    • akshayraven profile imageAUTHOR

      Akshay Kumar 

      8 months ago from spain

      Thank you for the comment liz westwood :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      This is a good introduction to the Vatican. I have not been there, but hope to in the future.

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