Vatican Art

School of Athens
School of Athens

 

Here’s a smattering of paintings that I got (semi) decent shots of while I was at the Vatican.  Starting with one of my personal favorites, the School of Athens.  If you’re got the time, go on Google and look up which Athenians were modeled on which famous Italians of the time … a hint, the big fish, center left, was based on Leonardo da Vinci.

 

 

This is a MUCH older piece, from centuries before the Italian Renaissance.  You can see it in the two-dimensional character of the work; clearly perspective hadn’t been developed to the same level at that point.

 

Old-Old School Art

And here’s a piece that I liked as well.  Not all that interesting in its own right, but I like the use of color and perspective in it.

Pope Somebody-or-Other

Pope Somebody-or-Other

 

Chow Time
Chow Time

Another classic, the Last Supper – except that this one is by Raphael, not da Vinci (his is in Milan).  This, and a lot of these, were real SOBs to get a good photo of, and it took a lot of sharpening and noise reduction in PhotoShop to get some results – and I still wasn’t happy with a lot of it.  The lighting in many of these galleries is dim, to better preserve the art, and flash photography is a big no-no.  And breaking rules is, well, a bad idea to put it mildly.  After all they have those nice Swiss guards with sharp objects, and their own jail.  Plus, y’know, the threat of damnation and all that.

 

Conquest of Paganism
Conquest of Paganism

 

I love the minimalist nature of this.  An old broken sculpture in front of a crucifix; it tells a story, but does it without distractions.

 

Throwdown
Throwdown

 

And now an action piece – Emperor Constantine triumphing over his foes!

 

Mother
Mother

 

And finally, another piece I adore the use of color in.

 

Happy shooting!

 

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Vatican Sculpture

Vatican Sculpture I
Vatican Sculpture I

 

Here’s a couple of shots of some sculptures in the museums and grounds of the Vatican.  This one to start was pilfered from Egypt.  Theft is kind of a theme with Vatican art – that or spending church money on it.  See also the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square – not native to Italy, that’s for sure!

 

But still, the kitty is cute.

 

Vatican Sculpture II
Vatican Sculpture II

 

Now on to Grecian and Greek-inspired art.

Vatican Sculpture III

And here’s Hermes, a.k.a. Mercury for the Romans.

 

Vatican Sculpture IV

 

This one’s an odd piece of a piece, but I liked it.  Next, some items from the pre-Roman, Etruscan era.

 

Vatican Sculpture V
Vatican Sculpture V

 

This is a casket, but I particularly like the dog at the base of it.  For being so-called primitive artists, it’s amazing how lifelike this is!

 

Vatican Sculpture VI
Vatican Sculpture VI

 

And this is the side of a piece of pottery.  Not too fancy, but I liked the lion.

Next time, paintings from the Vatican, a.k.a. the more famous stuff.  Plus an explainer on why photos are a mega-size no-no in the Sistine Chapel.

Happy shooting!

 

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

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Shooting Around Crowds, II

St Peters, Altar
St Peters, Altar

As promised, the next edition of crowds – St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel version.

If anything these are even more crowded than the rest of the Vatican, and for good reason.  Everyone and their brother has heard of Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and wants to see it for themselves.  But to be honest, after all the buildup, it’s a bit of a disappointment because (1) yeah, it’s freakin’ crowded, (2) it’s at the end of a long tour and I was bushed already, and (3) no photos allowed, and they mean it.  Mainly because the Fuji film company paid for a bunch of the restoration and owns the photographic rights for a long time.  Very nice place, though, I’d love to go back when my mind is fresh and I have binoculars to better pick out the detail (it’s a high ceiling).

 

St Peters, Main Area
St Peters, Main Area

 

So on to St. Peter’s!  It doesn’t’ seem as crowded, mainly because it’s gigantic in every dimension.  You could easily fit the population of a small town in there and not feel crowded.

Word of warning though – it is free to go to (it’s a church after all), so it’s a big draw for pickpockets looking for sucker tourists.  Mind yourself and your gear in that crowd!

To get good shots you’ll have to be patient, and work your way to the front of the line to see the impressive stuff.  Or have long arms and steady hands.  Or if you have REALLY well trained children who know how to follow directions, put ’em on your shoulders and have them shoot it.

 

Pieta
Pieta

 

Here’s the original of Micelangelo’s Pieta, that I showed a reproduction of last post, now behind glass ‘cuz some nutso took a hammer to Jesus’ hand a few years back and knocked off some fingers.  Stupid asshat.  Pretty sure that’s a few extra years in Purgatory right there.

This place will take a lot of time to work your way through, especially if you want a good photo or two that doesn’t come from the gift shop or a tourist stand in the city.  It’s worth the wait, though, and this is one of the few places you CAN stop and think and reshoot as needed, without issue.

 

St Peters, exterior, IR
St Peters, exterior, IR

 

Happy shooting!

PS for your extra little bit of Italy … when eating lunch afterward, we asked for water and were kindly reminded by our waitress – “water is for shower, drink wine!”

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

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Keyhole

Keyhole View
Keyhole View

This was a nasty piece to shoot.  It’s called the Keyhole, and is at the Priory of the Knights of Malta on Aventine Hill in Rome.

As the name suggests, it’s shot by looking through an actual keyhole.  As in, bend over and look (or shoot) through it.  Which means it’s a bugger!  And to boot, the foreground in the hedges is far darker than St. Peter’s in the distance.

So I ended up doing multiple exposures – without tripod – between groups of tourists.  I was definitely afraid I would get jack squat, but after using layers in Photoshop with the light and dark, and feathering my selections to blend it better, I got this.  Not great, but without a tripod and HDR work I think it’s the best I can get.

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan