Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Art Review: Statues of the Vatican Museum

Having returned from the Mediterranean cruise, I can now resume the regular features of the blog. I took a few days off from writing to recharge the old batteries and get back into the swing of things. I am pleased to return to the blog with today's Sunday Art Review: Statues of the Vatican Museum. The Vatican contains one of the greatest art collections in the world, with enormous variety and depth. I spent hours there, but could have spent weeks exploring. In many ways my visit to the Vatican Museum was a farce. Despite being on a private guided tour, I was moving so quickly it was next to impossible to absorb what I was seeing, let alone take notes. I chose to focus in on a few works in particular. This week I present the statues that were of interest to me. I deeply regret that I do not have any titles, artist names or date of origins, so you'll have to just use your eyes and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by today's Sunday Art Review: Statues of the Vatican Museum. Next Sunday we will explore Vases.
-Rick Rockhill


snowelf said...

I don't know if I can pick a favorite... maybe the one with the snake curled around because it's so elaborate and I can't imagine all of the time and effort it took to create.

Ugh! I don't know, they are all fabulous. I guess I just really enjoy sculptures. :)


Seamus said...

It has always amazed me at the artists' ability to hold such proportion while working in stone! Wonderful photo essay Rick.

lime said...

what a shame that you were hurried through so quickly. good art is like good food, best when savored. thanks for sharing a feast for the eyes.

Olivia said...

Ooh some familiar figures here, I LOVE statues and had a field day at the Vatican museums.
But somebody stop me I could do a mini lecture here.

1) Laocoon and his sons, they were killed by Poseidon's serpent for speaking against the god - it slipped out of the sea behind them and strangled them to death.

3) is possibly a Caesar's face tacked onto a body (like 2 and 7). Difference between the Greeks and Romans is the Greeks celebrated the beauty of the human body and its proportions. The Romans made garden statuary - mass produced bodies with customized faces. However, thanks to the Greeks we have the canon of proportions, meaning if you take the head and measure the rest of the body with it you get 5 perfect sections.

There is a statue in the Vatican Museums that represents this canon in perfection but that's a story for another time. It was unearthed under a restaurant I had eaten at in the Trastevere. Another good story.

The other thing is many of these Greco Roman statues are Roman copies of bronze Greek originals. The Greeks mostly used bronze - then the Romans melted them down to make the tools of war, but often not before copying them faithfully in marble. So thanks to them for that!

6) reclining is a river god.

8) goddess with topknot is very likely Aphrodite...

9) Apollo Belvedere. He has just shot an arrow (missing as well as his bow). This is one notable "Roman copy of a Greek bronze original" - a phrase we heard ad nauseam on our course.

10) Looks like a satyr (note his horns), of the cult of Dionysus/Bacchus, and hence should be your favorite - lots of wine! By the way, our word "wine" comes from the Greek word for it: oinos.

Desert Songbird said...

Nicely done, even without the commentary!


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