Must-see paintings and sculptures

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Apollo Belvedere – the greatest work of art from among all the works of antiquity

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Benrnini’s Apollo and Daphne – a rock animated by love

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Woman with a Unicorn - an image of a virgin marked by virtue

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s David – a sculpture testifying to the power of faith and humility

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath – a victor filled with sorrow

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa – an anthem on the subject of bodily union with God

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Gaul Killing Himself and his Wife – meaning, praise of an honorable suicidal death

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Laocoön Group – the dramatic story of one arm and its lack

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

Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes – a refined mixture of violence and desire

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Fornarina – a mysterious love interest or perhaps…

Must-see paintings and sculptures

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

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Domenichino’s The Hunt of Diana – a painting about spying and its unfortunate results

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Jacopo Sansovino’s Madonna del Parto – between a saint and a maid

Must-see paintings and sculptures

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

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Madonna of Loreto - the sanctity of dirty, coarse feet

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Andrea Sansovino’s Madonna and Child with St. Anne – a work praised by poets

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Giovanni Lanfranco’s Apparition of the Virgin to St. Lawrence – a thematic painting yet not bereft of artistry

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child with St. Anne – a work despite and against itself

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of St. Matthew – death among onlookers and terrified passersby

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Crucifixion of St. Peter – a painting on the banality of evil

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Moses – the remains of a tragic work

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Mosaics in the Church of Santa Pudenziana – how the Good Shepherd became a lawgiver

Must-see paintings and sculptures

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

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul – meaning how Saul became Paul

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pasquino – snide, mean and still today irreplaceable

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antonio Canova’s Pauline Borghese as the Venus Victrix – remember me like this for ages

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Pietà – an astonishing story of silent suffering

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Guercino’s The Funeral of St. Petronilla – a difficult topic, masterfully solved

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Funerary monument of Maria Clementina Sobieska – the joyful smile of a miserable queen

Must-see paintings and sculptures

The funerary monument of Pope Alexander VII, meaning the triumph of virtue over death

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antonio Canova’s funerary monument of Pope Clement XIII – death appeased with beauty

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antonio Canova’s funerary monument of Pope Clement XIV – a quiet grief of final parting

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Funerary Monument of Pope Leo XI – a modest and politically convincing work

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X – a real, perceptive and effective portrait

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Portrait of Pope Clement IX – a subtle image of a delicate pontifex

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s The Rape of Proserpina, meaning sanctioned rape

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s Rape of the Sabine Women – all is well that ends well

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius – a symbol of imperial harmony and peace

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Ludovica Albertoni – a masterpiece in the shadow of a moral scandal

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s Statue of St. Bibiana – meaning how to present a virgin in the moment of bliss

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew – how a sinner becomes the chosen of God

Must-see paintings and sculptures

The Transfiguration – the most divine of all Raphael’s works

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

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

Guido Reni’s Crucifixion of St. Peter – meaning a reason for a duel

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Dying Gaul – a funeral rhapsody in memory of the Gauls

Must-see paintings and sculptures

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

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Entombment of Christ – a perfect work

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s The Deposition – a painting of suffering, the fragility of life and an unforgettable loss

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antoniazzo Romano’s Annunciation – meaning, how the Virgin Mary can miss the most important moment of her life

Raphael (1483–1520) – the prematurely deceased genius of the Renaissance

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Raphael (1483–1520) – the prematurely deceased genius of the Renaissance

He was adored by the rich and influential, while on the day of his death, he was mourned not only by Pope Leo X but also the whole artistic community. He was seen as a pleasant, gentle, kind, and sociable person, who on top of that was righteous and noble. As his biographer, Giorgio Vasari claimed, "Raphael passionately loved women and was always ready for their services. This was why he was constantly seeking bodily pleasures." These kept him away from his work and perhaps as the concerned Vasari suggested, were also the cause of his death.

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The Transfiguration – the most divine of all Raphael’s works

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The Transfiguration – the most divine of all Raphael’s works

He was viewed as a painting genius, while his painting as exceptional. His figures were beautiful, both in the physical as well as the spiritual dimension, compositions were clear, the color scheme perfect. However, Raphael's last work cannot be characterized in this way. The artist has no desire to emanate with harmony, just the opposite – he puts us in front of distinct emotions, faces twisted in a grimace, dramatic gestures, and shouts, which seem to come to the viewer from inside the painting.

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Bernini’s Habakkuk and the Angel, meaning the story of a mysterious journey into the lion’s den

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Bernini’s Habakkuk and the Angel, meaning the story of a mysterious journey into the lion’s den

We enter the chapel and immediately our eyes are drawn to a group of figures, which seems to blast open the niche in which it finds itself – an older man in a dynamic pose, who is held by an angel by his lock of hair. The lively gestures of their hands indicate that there is a conflict brewing. The angel seems to be ordering the man to do something, which he questions, pointing in a different direction. When we follow the angel’s finger, we begin to understand what he means. He is pointing to a figure of another man found in the opposite niche – but what is it that truly conn...

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