Pinacoteca of the Vatican, a fabulous art collection

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

From the treasury held by the Vatican Museum, some 460 notable paintings, grouped in 18 chambers, were selected to form Vatican’s art gallery open to the public. Among them, the works of Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Giotto, Veronese, Caravaggio and many others. The canvas paintings add to Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and to Raphael’s Rooms.
Saint Jerome in the wilderness is an oil painting on cardboard by Leonardo da Vinci which was probably underestimated in its past, as it shows signs of being cut, either for eliminating some parts or even to allow the material to be utilized in a more practical manner. Restored and reevaluated today it impresses through the dramatic way in which sufferance is rendered in the lines of a mortified body, in a manner that prefigures the modern expressionist school.
The Madonna with Child by Sanssferrato (Giovanni Battista Salvi) shows the chromatic balance of this painter’s model, Raphael, with whom it shares the taste for harmonic physical features, but with an extra sentimentality you would expect for a painter of the Baroque age.
The Coronation of Virgin Mary by Raphael was meant to support the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, according to which the Mother of God did not pass away, but raised to Heavens. That is why the painting is divided into two horizontal parts, with an empty crypt on the lower side and the heavenly scene of Jesus placing the crown on Mary’s head. A similar theme is found in another work by Raphael, The Transfiguration of Jesus, but this one is of greater value, because of the fluidity between the two planes and of the natural reproduction of the sensation of movement.
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the most famous painting by Wenzel Peter, a Bohemian painter who specialized in painting accurate animal and flower species.
Saint Sebastian is one of the numerous martyrs who died during the persecutions of Roman emperor Diocletian. Some of the numerous depictions of Saint Sebastian stabbed by arrows are found in the Vatican Museum. The painting of Saint Sebastian receiving the crown of martyrdom is attributed to Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta, a 16 century Italian artist.
The Polish king who lead the European armies that stopped the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna, Jan Sobieski III is honored by the Vatican with an entire room that hosts a gigantic oil painting by Polish painter Jean Matejko. Above the luxurious painting, on the gilded frame, sits the Latin dictum “Non nobis, Domine, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam” (Not to us, Our Lord, but to Thee belongs the glory), which is a verse from Psalms.

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