Vatican, Italy · 1 Days · 4 Moments · July 2017

Vatican Trip

7 July 2017

This statue of Saint Peter is absolutely breathtaking up close. However, looking at it now it's interesting to note a few things regarding the impact of sexuality on the piece. This statue depicts Peter in almost a hero like image, with huge muscles, flowing hair, and a powerful look in his eye. He is a strong male leader here, which is a lot unlike how he was depicted in the Bible. Peter was actually afraid of sacrificing his life for Christ at the beginning of his ministry, and didn't want to face the consequences of teaching about Jesus. He hid for quite some time after Christ's death. However, that Peter is not depicted in the Basilica. This may be due to the emphasis that the church may want to place on Peter as the rock of the church. However, I think it also has to do with the culture of the time not wanting to acknowledge the 'weaknesses' that Peter may have possessed and instead portray him as a macho man that Christians would gladly follow.
I have no words for this picture. Pope John Paul II has been one of my idols for so long, leading me through my Christian faith. His message of acceptance and dignity hold a great deal of power both for me and so many other people. However, his tomb isn't extremely ornate and doesn't show how powerful his influence was. He was humble and his tomb reflects that humility that he held and spread everywhere he went. In fact the simplicity of his grave is what drove me to tears. Even in his sainthood, he would not have wanted anything more than the simple tomb he was given. Instead he would have wanted to draw our eyes to Christ, which is why I believe there is a painting of Christ's cruxifixction above him. This was probably one of the best moments of my life.
I had seen this statue in text books for as long as I could remember. My teachers had ingrained in me the power that this work of art held and the significance it had not only for the Catholic faith, but also art history. The form of the Pietà is not only of the Virgin Mary holding her dead sons body, but a depiction of the loss a mother feels when losing her flesh and blood in the most brutal way. Michelangelo perfectly shows the loss and despair in his formation of Mary's facial features. This statue represents the very sacrifice of Christianity and the pain it caused to many. There is a great power in the emotions displayed here, displaying the love between a mother and a son.
This panorama picture shows the massiveness of the Vatican and perhaps symbolizes the great power that it holds in the region. St Peter's Basilica and the square in front didn't have to be so ornate. There didn't have to be dozens of statues, pillars, windows, domes, etc. The church could have been simple in order to stay in line with Jesus' teachings of poverty and simplicity. However, I think the detail of the Vatican is important to note. It hints at the power of the Catholic Church and the papacy in the region, and the influence the church had and continues to have as time goes on. It's almost as if the Church is marking its territory and reminding people of the importance of Catholicism, Christ's message, and the power the Church had historically had.