Must-see paintings and sculptures

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s The Story of Aeneas – meaning where the pope searched for his roots

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antoniazzo Romano’s Legend of the True Cross – miraculousness told in a Renaissance way

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Madonna delle mani – an indecent work, damaged and found anew

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Melozzo da Forlì’s Musical angels – Christ among songs, music and dance

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Fire in the Borgo – a hymn on the subject of more than just antiquity

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Vault of the Sistine Chapel – a masterpiece born out of doubt and suffering

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Stanzas – meaning how the popes had wanted to live

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Saint Cecilia Distributing Alms to the Poor– a story of the recalcitrant Roman populace

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Melozzo da Forlì’s Sixtus IV Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library – pope as an earthly ruler and a patron of science

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s’ The School of Athens– a fancy riddle or an alternative history

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea – beauty and the beast in a Renaissance version

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s Triumph of Divine Providence – family apotheosis, meaning painting to the point of breathlessness

Must-see paintings and sculptures

The Deliverance of St. Peter– between reality and a vision

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Daniele da Volterra’s The Descent from the Cross – a faded shadow of a great work, meaning the aftermath of vandalism

Piazza Augusto Imperatore – in the service of historical policy

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Piazza Augusto Imperatore – in the service of historical policy

The ruler of Fascist Italy, Benito Mussolini looked at himself as the heir of Roman emperors, but only one was his favorite. This was Octavius Augustus, who was remembered in history as an example of an excellent leader who ensured his subjects peace and prosperity. And thus the grand exhibition, planned for 1938 was devoted to this ruler as a commemoration of his birthday. Many guests were invited (including Hitler, who was also a proponent of Octavius), while the opening of a square (a new Roman forum), surrounded by new, monumental buildings served as an added attraction. At the center of t...

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Giovanni Lanfranco’s Venus Playing the Harp – a tribute to music or perhaps to love?

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Giovanni Lanfranco’s Venus Playing the Harp – a tribute to music or perhaps to love?

Who is the semi-nude woman on the canvas? Is it the allegory of music, or perhaps Venus – the goddess of love, with accompanying, reading the score, amoretti? The scarlet and blue fabrics made of satin covering the woman, and hanging behind her back, seduce the viewer with the soft, wavy, and shiny material. Among these is the woman’s beautiful body, with an enormous harp between her legs. The woman is singing, as her mouth is open, and looks at us in a stubborn manner. Intuitively we feel that this work hides some mystery, an anecdote, or maybe just an intriguing ambiguity. And we...

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Saint Eustochium (368–419) – a virgin through and through

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Saint Eustochium (368–419) – a virgin through and through

The history of the Roman Catholic Church is filled with imaginary virgins of legendary provenances, such as Agnes and Cecilia who are particularly venerated in Rome. Probably nobody (apart from a few early-Christian Church historians) has ever heard of Saint Eustochium. It would be worth pondering why the first in Rome, declared virgin and historically documented ascetic remains completely unknown.

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