The Sistine Chapel: An Inside Look Into the Sacred Heart of the Papacy with Dr. Sara Magister
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“The frescoes that we are contemplating here introduce us into the world of the contents of the Revelation. The truths of our faith speak to us here from all sides. From them human genius took its inspiration undertaking to clothe them in forms of incomparable beauty." In his homily said during the Holy Mass celebrated on April 1994 in the Sistine chapel, for the completion of the restoration of the Last Judgement, the Holy Father John Paul II pronounced these words. He underscored how sacredness and beauty are deeply tied, in a place which is not only the focus of the Vatican Palaces, but mainly the very sacred heart of the Papacy. Here since the late Middle Ages, the popes still hold private masses to the most important people of the Church and of the world, and here the popes are also elected, in continuity with St. Peter’s role.
Thought as a book formed by images, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel serve to engage the viewers into a deeper understanding of the liturgy, of the truth and symbolism of faith, but also of the timeless and universal mystery of the origins and history of humanity. A book whose pages are open in front of the enraptured eyes of visitors, where the genius and the talent of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Perugino and other masters of the Renaissance could express their best, following the guidelines of the popes, their scholars and theologians.
Led by art historian, professor, and long-term collaborator of the Vatican Museums, Sara Magister, this lecture will guide visitors through a deep understanding of the connections between art, genius, symbolism, function, history and context, of the visual and spiritual narrative of the frescoes, made and designed for one of the most astonishing temples of beauty and meaning in the world. Sara has published a book on Pope Julius II, and various articles in important scholarly journals. Her most recent book on Caravaggio introduced a new interpretation of his works, which has changed the way we look at this artist.
Sara is an art historian with doctoral degrees in Medieval and Modern Art History and Classical Antiquities. She is the author of a book, published by the Accademia dei Lincei, on the antiquities collection of Pope Julius II and has written various articles in important scholarly journals on the history of Renaissance and Baroque collections. More recently, she had published a book on some of the most famous paintings of Caravaggio in Rome which introduces a new interpretation of the works, based on philological data, and which is changing the way we look at this artist.