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Mosaic Magnetism at The Vatican Museums

Rome “The eternal city” is very well known for its sprawling lights and lively streets, on-going festivals and late ending nights. It holds some of the greatest masterpieces of the world such as the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and many others. This city is also considered to have the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics. Since it’s also home to hundreds of museums covering archaeology and mosaic art!

In Today’s article, I’ll take another trip to Italy, but this time to explore one of the world’s most Iconic art museum “The Vatican” with over two thousand years of works to admire, priceless artifacts, historic pieces of art, sculptures and of course mosaics.

Brief Introduction:  Morning Mosaic Exploration

As I approached the Vatican Museums, at 10 am in the morning on day 3 of my recent visit to Italy, thankfully armed with my pre-reserved ticket and Omnia Card, the heavens opened for a spectacular sunshine after 3 freezing days in Rome. I’d been to the Vatican once before, on my previous visit to Italy, nonetheless, my second visit was particularly memorable as it included a guided tour of the Vatican Gardens, Pinacoteca and Borgia Apartments. I tried to stay intentionally away from the teeming route to the Sistine Chapel and hoping to focus and other areas with mosaic art. Unfortunately, most of the museums like Etruscan and the Gregorian Profane were closed, but that left more than enough for a morning’s mosaic exploration!

Ancient mosaic tiled floor in the Vatican

Ancient mosaic tiled floor in the Vatican

Zoom in: The Epitome of ethereal beauty

As one of the most interesting and breathtakingly beautiful sites in the world, the Vatican museums are housing some of the world’s most beautiful and culturally significant masterpieces. Few museums in the world have the potential to be so heartrending to its visitors, however, few museums are as frustrating to navigate as well. Therefore, let’s try to imagine a magnifying glass over the Museums. First of all focus on the spiral staircases, as soon as you enter the Vatican Museum you will come across the impressive spiraling staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1832, and then, slowly let’s zoom more and more within the four Raphael Rooms. Once there, you just have to get even closer focusing on the Sistine Chapel, where you can’t help but be wowed as soon as you arrive. And now, isn’t it time for a mosaic walkway? While continuing your walk you arrive at the Papal Throne, make sure to explore the red marble papal throne that now stands in the Vatican, ornamented with some breathtaking mosaics and frescoes. As humans, we have an urge to explore. So, where to next? If you like the Pantheon then the Sala Rotonda will not fail to impress. Shaped like the central Roman building, but on a smaller scale, its curved walls are lined with gigantic statues and the floor is laid with spectacular mosaics.

Mosaic tiled floor in the Vatican museums

Detail of mosaic tiled floor

Floor Mosaic At The entrance of the Pio Clementino

Designed and built by the Italian architect Michelangelo Simonetti during the pontificate of Pope Pius VI Braschi( 1775-1799), who came to constitute the entrance hall of the Pio Clementino Museum. The evidence remains in the Latin inscription Museum Pium above the imposing access, each side of which is flanked by an Egyptian style pillar-statue (telamones) in pink granite, which dates from the beginning of the 1st century A.D. In the center of the floor is a mosaic with a bust of Athena. In the hall, dominated by the presence of two huge porphyry sarcophagi, there is also the Verospi Augustus, a portrait statue of the emperor in a heroic pose, perhaps posthumous, and a statue of Gaius Caesar, a nephew of the same Augustus.

Mosaic tiled floor in the Vatican museums

Mosaic-Art-Vatican

Have you ever been to the Vatican? In one word, how you describe your experience? Share your thoughts with us about this mosaic project and let us know if you have visited cities enriched with decorative architecture and mosaic artworks…

Got inspired by reading this article?

You May Also Want To Read: Contemporary Mosaics at the City Art Museum of Ravenna

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Chantal Menhem

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