Day 8

**Written May 14th 2009 while studying abroad in Italy**

This morning we had to be out the door by 7:15 so that we could get into the Vatican Museum right as it opened! I packed a small lunch and brought a couple of euros to buy Vatican Stamps. The Vatican was only a couple of blocks away from our hotel so we walked over there and waited in line outside it's walls.

Around 8:20am the doors were opened and the Vatican Guards let us in. 

Once inside we went straight to the Egyptian Art display,

then we traveled to the Assyrian Department...

and then on to the Roman/Greek Exhibits.
There is something about seeing the progressopm pf art through sculpture that is just so moving. We advanced from Polykleitos's "Spearbearer" to Lysippos's "Scraper" to the "Laocoon and his Sons" a masterpiece of emotion and drama!
(I love the emotional turmoil that is so evident on Laocoon's face!)

We then moved through the painting gallery. we saw pieces by Giotto, Giovanni, Perugino, Rafael (!!-It was beautiful, the moment ou stepped into the room holding his works your mind just stops working for a moment. His works of art are so beautiful that it's hard to leave the room...), Poussin and Caravaggio

From there we moved into the Sistine Chapel (!!), in one of the rooms along the way we saw the School of Athens  (which was bigger that I had imagined it would be)! 
It was life-sized and brilliantly colored! 

But oh, the Sistine Chapel

It was beautiful. Michaelangelo really outdid himself... the twisting, bold figures, the mannerism, the bright colors and creative uses of light and dark was beyond anything I think I've ever seen before. We stayed for about 45 minutes, gazing in awe at the various biblical scenes depicted above us. 

On an adjacent wall was the Last Judgement, which was also done by Michaelangelo. This one piece was completed 25 years after the Sistine Chapel and is a complete maze of twisting torsos, anguish and... nudity. It was still beautiful however, and definitely moving (one figure's face still haunts me)!

After leaving the museum we all bought some stamps and for those who didn't have the addresses they needed, parted ways. I went with Nancy and Natalie to the Flea Market outside the Vatican's walls where I found candied peanuts(!) but since I didn't not have more cash on me (I spent it all on stamps) I'll just have to come back tomorrow for some!

After the Market, Steve took us all out for some gelatto. Afterwards I got some laundry done (with soap and water in the sink) and we had a delicious dinner. 
Not to shabby of a day :)

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