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Saturday 21 July 2018


The Vatican Museum has got statues, lots and lots of Roman and Greek statues. Two wings of a gallery full of statues and busts, many in almost perfect condition. Among them are the Emperors Tiberius and Claudius (below).

The Vatican and its enormous museum aren't the easiest of visits. The museum is too busy in places, rammed full of tourists being herded about by guides, filling galleries and staircases. At times it's impossible to avoid getting swept along in a wave of people walking down corridors, selfie sticks aloft, past wall paintings and tapestries, without any sense of what's happening other than everyone keeps moving and clicking. The Roman statues gallery was relatively quiet and for a while I took refuge in the Etruscan gallery, full of beautiful decorated vases and open windows looking out over the city. Dipping into the modern art collection (and I'm not generally a fan of Christian art) there was a calming, awe-inspiring room containing Matisse's huge designs for the Chapelle du Rosaire in Provence. 

For a really soulless experience I can recommend the Sistene Chapel. Hundreds of people at a time corralled into the room, necks craned upwards gazing at the fingers of God and Adam and Michaelangelo's brushwork, ushers ordering people to either keep to the edges if moving or into the centre if standing while also being barking at the visitors, telling to stop talking and take no photos. On leaving the Sistene Chapel you enter the gift shop, piled high with jigsaws, posters and mousemats of the ceiling. The Vatican insists that the Capella Sistena is a sacred place and that guests must show respect and be appropriately dressed, no naked shoulders or knees, but the pile 'em in and bark at 'em attitude of the museum and chapel is dispiriting. I think Jesus might have had views about it similar to his attitude the money lenders in the temple. 

In the statues gallery they've got this unnamed, bearded Dacian man which handily brings me around to the latest edition of Andrew Weatherall's Music's Not For Everyone, transmitted on NTS Radio yesterday and piled high with high quality tunes from everyone from Naphta and The Shamans to Link Wray to Seahawks to Wally Badarou. Tracklist here. No talking from Lord Sabre in this one, just music. 


keepingitpeel said...

I could see you thinking when you saw that bust. Ah there's your man errr... Andy something isn't it...?

Anonymous said...

You sure that second one isn’t Stephen Pastel?


Adam Turner said...

Drew- it does look like Stephen Pastel.
KiP- um yes, poorly worded. It was the beard I think.

C said...

Whilst he absolutely wouldn't have done so a few years ago, funnily enough I think the unnamed, bearded Dacian man looks the most contemporary now.
Love the pics and virtual tour SA.