Vatican Hill is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome. It is the location of St. Peters Basilica, the ancient Romans had several opinions about the derivation of the Latin word Vaticanus. Varro connected it to a Deus Vaticanus or Vagitanus, a Roman deity thought to endow infants with the capacity for speech evidenced by their first wail. St. Augustine, who was familiar with Varros works on ancient Roman theology, Vaticanus is more likely to derive in fact from the name of an Etruscan settlement, possibly called Vatica or Vaticum, located in the general area the Romans called vaticanus ager, Vatican territory. If such a settlement existed, however, no trace of it has been discovered, the consular fasti preserve a personal name Vaticanus in the mid-5th century BC, of unknown relation to the place name. Vaticanus Mons was most often a name in Classical Latin for the Janiculum, cicero uses the plural form Vaticani Montes in a context that seems to include the modern Vatican Hill as well as the Monte Mario and the Janiculan hill.
The Vaticanum or Campus Vaticanus was originally an area between the Vaticanus Mons and the Tiber. During the Republican era, it was a site frequented by the destitute. Caligula and Nero used the area for exercises, as at the Gaianum. The location of tombs near the Circus Vaticanus is mentioned in a few late sources, the Vaticanum was the site of the Phrygianum, a temple of the Magna Mater goddess Cybele. Remnants of this structure were encountered in the Seventeenth Century reconstruction of St. Peters Square, Vaticanus Mons came to refer to the modern Vatican Hill as a result of calling the whole area the Vatican. Christian usage of the name was spurred by the martyrdom of St. Peter there, beginning in the early 4th century AD, construction began on the Old St. Peters Basilica over a cemetery that is the traditional site of St. Peters tomb. Around this time, the name Vaticanus Mons was established in its usage. Another cemetery nearby was opened to the public on 10 October 2006 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Vatican Museums.
The Vatican Hill was included within the city limits of Rome during the reign of Pope Leo IV, Vatican Hill has been within the walls and city limits of Rome for over 1100 years. Until the Lateran Treaties in 1929 it was part of the Rione of Borgo, before the Avignon Papacy, the headquarters of the Holy See were located at the Lateran Palace. After the Avignon Papacy the church moved to Vatican Hill. Since 1929, part of the Vatican Hill is the site of the State of the Vatican City, incredible Book of Vatican Facts and Papal Curiosities,1998
The School of Athens
The School of Athens is one of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphaels commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, the picture has long been seen as Raphaels masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance. The School of Athens is one of a group of four main frescoes on the walls of the Stanza that depict distinct branches of knowledge, the figures on the walls below exemplify Philosophy, Poetry and Law. The traditional title is not Raphaels, indeed and Aristotle appear to be the central figures in the scene. However, all the philosophers depicted sought knowledge of first causes, many lived before Plato and Aristotle, and hardly a third were Athenians. The architecture contains Roman elements, but the general semi-circular setting having Plato, compounding the problem, Raphael had to invent a system of iconography to allude to various figures for whom there were no traditional visual types.
For example, while the Socrates figure is immediately recognizable from Classical busts, aside from the identities of the figures depicted, many aspects of the fresco have been variously interpreted, but few such interpretations are unanimously accepted among scholars. The popular idea that the gestures of Plato and Aristotle are kinds of pointing is very likely. Aristotle, with his four-elements theory, held that all change on Earth was owing to motions of the heavens, in the painting Aristotle carries his Ethics, which he denied could be reduced to a mathematical science. Finally, according to Vasari, the scene includes Raphael himself, however, as Heinrich Wölfflin observed, it is quite wrong to attempt interpretations of the School of Athens as an esoteric treatise. The all-important thing was the motive which expressed a physical or spiritual state. An interpretation of the fresco relating to hidden symmetries of the figures, the identities of some of the philosophers in the picture, such as Plato or Aristotle, are certain.
Beyond that, identifications of Raphaels figures have always been hypothetical, to complicate matters, beginning from Vasaris efforts, some have received multiple identifications, not only as ancients but as figures contemporary with Raphael. Vasari mentions portraits of the young Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, leaning over Bramante with his hands raised near the bottom right and he was writing over 40 years after the painting, and never knew Raphael, but no doubt reflects what was believed in his time. Many other popular identifications of portraits are very dubious, luitpold Dussler counts among those who can be identified with some certainty, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Raphael and Diogenes. Other identifications he holds to be more or less speculative, both figures hold modern, bound copies of their books in their left hands, while gesturing with their right. Plato holds Timaeus, Aristotle his Nicomachean Ethics, Plato is depicted as old, wise-looking, and bare-foot. By contrast Aristotle, slightly ahead of him, is in manhood, well-shod and dressed with gold
Sarcophagi of Helena and Constantina
The Sarcophagi of Helena and Constantina are two fourth century porphyry sarcophagi in Rome. The Sarcophagus of Helena is the red porphyry coffin in which Saint Helena, the Sarcophagus is carved in the Egyptian porphyry, used only in the finest Byzantine imperial monuments. It is noted that the imagery depicts victorious Roman Cavalry riding above captured barbarians. It is unclear if such imagery was intended for the sarcophagus of a highly religious Christian woman, the decoration is a semi-pagan depictions of cupids in Dionysic harvesting of grapes to make wine, it has been interpreted as an early Christian reference to the eucharist
Luca Beltrami was an Italian architect and architectural historian, known particularly for restoration projects. He was initially a student at the Politecnico in Milan, in the Brera Academy, from there he moved to Paris, where he stayed till 1880. He was involved in works at Trocadero an at the Palace of the National Exhibitions and he was able to outscore those taking tests from the Ecole Nationale de Beaux Arts, and distinguished himself at the Salon with designs by aquaforte. He was nominated the second in command as inspector of the works of reconstruction at the Hotel de Ville of Paris and he collaborated with the architect Théodore Ballu in works on the Palace of Justice at Charleroi, Belgium. Returning from Paris in 1880, he won a contest for the Cathedra of Geometry, by commission from the Ministry of Public Instruction, he recorded all the reliefs found at the Lazzaretto of Milan, the Castello Sforzesco of Milan, and the Rocca of Soncino. He was responsible for the restoration of the Castello Sforzesco and he was responsible for the design and construction of the base of the monument to Giuseppe Parini in Milan’s Piazza Cordusio.
He is buried at the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, media related to Luca Beltrami at Wikimedia Commons Varagnoli, Conservazione e ripristino in Italia nel secondo Ottocento. Il rapporto storia-restauro in Luca Beltrami, corso di Teoria e storia del restauro, Appunti dalle lezioni, Università degli Studi di Chieti e Pescara – Facoltà di Architettura
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian sculptor, painter and poet of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since described as one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of Michelangelos works of painting and architecture rank among the most famous in existence and he sculpted two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library, at the age of 74, he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peters Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan so that the end was finished to his design, as was the dome, with some modification. Michelangelo was unique as the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive, in his lifetime he was often called Il Divino. One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, the attempts by subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelos impassioned and highly personal style resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.
Michelangelo was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, at the time of Michelangelos birth, his father was the Judicial administrator of the small town of Caprese and local administrator of Chiusi. Michelangelos mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena, the Buonarrotis claimed to descend from the Countess Mathilde of Canossa, this claim remains unproven, but Michelangelo himself believed it. Several months after Michelangelos birth, the returned to Florence. There Michelangelo gained his love for marble, as Giorgio Vasari quotes him, If there is good in me. Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer, as a young boy, Michelangelo was sent to Florence to study grammar under the Humanist Francesco da Urbino. The young artist, showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches, the city of Florence was at that time the greatest centre of the arts and learning in Italy. Art was sponsored by the Signoria, by the merchant guilds and by patrons such as the Medici.
The Renaissance, a renewal of Classical scholarship and the arts, had its first flowering in Florence, the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti had laboured for fifty years to create the bronze doors of the Baptistry, which Michelangelo was to describe as The Gates of Paradise. The exterior niches of the Church of Orsanmichele contained a gallery of works by the most acclaimed sculptors of Florence – Donatello, Andrea del Verrocchio, and Nanni di Banco. The interiors of the churches were covered with frescos, begun by Giotto. During Michelangelos childhood, a team of painters had been called from Florence to the Vatican, among them was Domenico Ghirlandaio, a master in fresco painting, figure drawing, and portraiture who had the largest workshop in Florence at that period
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, reigned as Pope from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 and he took as his papal motto, Pax Christi in Regno Christi, translated The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ. During his pontificate, the hostility with the Italian government over the status of the papacy. He was unable to stop the persecution of the Church and the killing of clergy in Mexico, Spain and he canonized important saints, including Thomas More, Petrus Canisius, Konrad von Parzham, Andrew Bobola and Don Bosco. Pius XI created the feast of Christ the King in response to anti-clericalism and he took a strong interest in fostering the participation of lay people throughout the Catholic Church, especially in the Catholic Action movement. The end of his pontificate was dominated by speaking out against Hitler and Mussolini and defending the Catholic Church from intrusions into Catholic life and he died on 10 February 1939 in the Apostolic Palace and is buried in the Papal Grotto of Saint Peters Basilica.
In the course of excavating space for his tomb, two levels of burial grounds were uncovered which revealed bones now venerated as the bones of St. Peter. Achille Ratti was born in Desio, in the province of Milan, in 1857 and he was ordained a priest in 1879 and embarked on an academic career within the Church. He obtained three doctorates at the Gregorian University in Rome, and from 1882 to 1888 was a professor at the seminary in Padua and his scholarly specialty was as an expert paleographer, a student of ancient and medieval Church manuscripts. Eventually, he left teaching to work full-time at the Ambrosian Library in Milan. During this time, he edited and published an edition of the Ambrosian Missal and he became chief of the Library in 1907 and undertook a thorough programme of restoration and re-classification of the Ambrosians collection. He was a mountaineer in his spare time, reaching the summits of Monte Rosa. The combination of a pope would not be seen again until the pontificate of John Paul II.
In 1911, at Pope Pius Xs invitation, he moved to the Vatican to become Vice-Prefect of the Vatican Library, in October 1918, Benedict was the first head of state to congratulate the Polish people on the occasion of the restoration of their independence. In March 1919, he nominated ten new bishops and, soon after, Ratti was consecrated as a titular archbishop in October 1919. Benedict XV and Nuncio Ratti repeatedly cautioned Polish authorities against persecuting the Lithuanian and Ruthenian clergy, Ratti intended to work for Poland by building bridges to men of goodwill in the Soviet Union, even to shedding his blood for Russia. Benedict, needed Ratti as a diplomat, not as a martyr, the nuncios continued contacts with Russians did not generate much sympathy for him within Poland at the time. After Pope Benedict sent Ratti to Silesia to forestall potential political agitation within the Polish Catholic clergy, on 20 November, when German Cardinal Adolf Bertram announced a papal ban on all political activities of clergymen, calls for Rattis expulsion climaxed
Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, reigned as Pope from 16 June 1846 to his death in 1878. He was the elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church. During his pontificate Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council, which decreed papal infallibility and he was the last pope to rule as the Sovereign of the Papal States, which fell completely to the Italian Army in 1870 and were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. After this, he was referred to—chiefly by himself—as the Prisoner of the Vatican, after his death in 1878, his canonization process was opened on 11 February 1907 by Pope Pius X and it drew considerable controversy over the years. It was closed on several occasions during the pontificates of Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XII re-opened the cause on 7 December 1954, and Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Venerable on 6 July 1985. Together with Pope John XXIII, he was beatified on 3 September 2000 after the recognition of a miracle, Pius IX was assigned the liturgical feast day of February 7, the date of his death.
Europe, including the Italian peninsula, was in the midst of political ferment when the bishop of Spoleto. He took the name Pius, after his generous patron and the prisoner of Napoleon Bonaparte. Through the 1850s and 1860s, Italian nationalists made military gains against the Papal States, concordats were concluded with numerous states such as Austria-Hungary, Spain, Tuscany, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. Many contemporary Church historians and journalists question his approaches, in his Syllabus of Errors, still highly controversial, Pius IX condemned the heresies of secular society, especially modernism. He was a Marian pope, who in his encyclical Ubi primum described Mary as a Mediatrix of salvation, in 1854, he promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, articulating a long-held Catholic belief that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived without original sin. In 1862, he convened 300 bishops to the Vatican for the canonization of Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan and his most important legacy is the First Vatican Council, which convened in 1869.
The council is considered to have contributed to a centralization of the Church in the Vatican, Pius IX was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 3 September 2000. His Feast Day is 7 February, Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti was born on May 13,1792. He was educated at the Piarist College in Volterra and in Rome, as a theology student in his hometown Sinigaglia, in 1814 he met Pope Pius VII, who had returned from French captivity. In 1815, he entered the Papal Noble Guard but was dismissed after an epileptic seizure. He threw himself at the feet of Pius VII, who elevated him, the pope originally insisted that another priest should assist Mastai during Holy Mass, a stipulation that was rescinded, after the seizure attacks became less frequent. Mastai was ordained priest on April 10,1819 and he initially worked as the rector of the Tata Giovanni Institute in Rome
The four Raphael Rooms form a suite of reception rooms in the palace, the public part of the papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop, together with Michelangelos ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, they are the grand fresco sequences that mark the High Renaissance in Rome. The Stanze, as they are called, were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, a young artist from Urbino. It was possibly Julius intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor Pope Alexander VI and they are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard. After the death of Julius in 1513, with two rooms frescoed, Pope Leo X continued the program, following Raphaels death in 1520, his assistants Gianfrancesco Penni, Giulio Romano and Raffaellino del Colle finished the project with the frescoes in the Sala di Costantino. The scheme of the works is as follows, The largest of the rooms is the Sala di Costantino.
Its paintings were not begun until Pope Julius and, indeed Raphael himself, had died, the room is dedicated to the victory of Christianity over paganism. Its frescoes represent this struggle from the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine, because they are not by the master himself, the frescos are less famous than works in the neighboring rooms. Continuing a long tradition of flattery, Raphaels assistants gave the features of the current pontiff, Clement VII, the fresco of The Vision of the Cross depicts the legendary story of a great cross appearing to Constantine as he marched to confront his rival Maxentius. The vision in the sky is painted with the words in Greek Εν τούτω νίκα written next to it, the Battle of Milvian Bridge shows the battle that took place on October 28,312, following Constantines vision. The next room, going from East to West, is the Stanza di Eliodoro, painted between 1511 and 1514, it takes its name from one of the paintings. The theme of this private chamber – probably an audience room – was the protection granted by Christ to the Church.
The four paintings are, The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, The Mass at Bolsena, The Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila, Raphaels style changed here from the Stanza della Segnatura. Instead of the images of the Popes library, he had dramatic narratives to portray. The composition is more dramatic than Raphaels earlier frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura. Although the focal point is the figure of the priest at prayer, Heliodorus. At the left Julius II, carried by the Swiss Guard in a chair and his inclusion here refers to his battles to prevent secular leaders from usurping papal territories
St. Peter's Baldachin
The baldachin is at the centre of the crossing and directly under the dome of the basilica. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it was intended to mark, in a monumental way, under its canopy is the high altar of the basilica. Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, the began in 1623. The idea of the baldachin to mark Saint Peters tomb was not Berninis idea, the old basilica had had a screen in front of the altar, supported by 2nd century Solomonic columns that had been brought from Greece by Constantine I. Eight of the twelve columns are now found in pairs half way up the piers on either side of the baldachin. The bronze and gilded baldachin was the first of Berninis works to sculpture and architecture and represents an important development in Baroque church interior design. The canopy rests upon four columns each of which stands on a high marble plinth. The columns support a cornice which curves inwards in the middle of each side, the four columns are 20 metres or 66 feet high. The base and capital were cast separately and the shaft of each column was cast in three sections, from the cornice hangs a bronze semblance of the scalloped and tasselled border that typically trimmed the papal baldacchino.
The structure is decorated with detailed motifs including heraldic emblems of the Barberini family such as bees, the underside of the canopy and directly above the officiating pope is a radiant sun – another emblem of the Barberini – within which is the Holy Spirit. There remained an issue that Bernini was not to resolve until in his career. In a Latin cross church, the altar should be placed in the chancel at the end of the longitudinal axis. Bernini sought a solution whereby the high altar above the tomb of the first Pope of the Catholic Church could be reconciled with tradition, four marble plinths form the basis of the columns that support the baldachin. The two outer sides of each plinth are decorated with the Barberini familys coat of arms and this series of eight, nearly identical coats of arms forms a narrative that has attracted over the centuries the interest of writers and art historians. The coat of arms represents the three bees of the Barberini family. Each shield is enclosed by a head at the top. A papal tiara with crossed keys surmounts the shield, all shields look nearly identical, but – if examined one after another starting with the left-hand front plinth – they reveal dramatic changes in the expression on the female face.
The coat of arms itself, flat on the first plinth, undergoes a noticeable deformation, progressively bulging up to the sixth shield, above the eighth shield, the female face is replaced by the head of a winged child or putto
The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. The word was used to describe an ancient Roman public building where courts were held, as well as serving other official. To a large extent these were the halls of ancient Roman life. The basilica was centrally located in every Roman town, usually adjacent to the main forum, the term came to refer specifically to a large and important Roman Catholic church that has been given special ceremonial rights by the Pope. Roman Catholic basilicas are Catholic pilgrimage sites, receiving tens of millions of visitors per year. In December 2009 the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City set a new record with 6.1 million pilgrims during Friday and Saturday for the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Roman basilica was a public building where business or legal matters could be transacted. The first basilicas had no function at all. The central aisle tended to be wide and was higher than the flanking aisles, the oldest known basilica, the Basilica Porcia, was built in Rome in 184 BC by Cato the Elder during the time he was Censor.
Other early examples include the basilica at Pompeii, probably the most splendid Roman basilica is the one begun for traditional purposes during the reign of the pagan emperor Maxentius and finished by Constantine I after 313 AD. In the 3rd century AD, the elite appeared less frequently in the forums. They now tended to dominate their cities from opulent palaces and country villas, rather than retreats from public life, these residences were the forum made private. Seated in the tribune of his basilica, the man would meet his dependent clientes early every morning. A private basilica excavated at Bulla Regia, in the House of the Hunt and its reception or audience hall is a long rectangular nave-like space, flanked by dependent rooms that mostly open into one another, ending in a semi-circular apse, with matching transept spaces. Clustered columns emphasised the crossing of the two axes, the remains of a large subterranean Neopythagorean basilica dating from the 1st century AD were found near the Porta Maggiore in Rome in 1915.
The ground-plan of Christian basilicas in the 4th century was similar to that of this Neopythagorean basilica, the usable model at hand, when Constantine wanted to memorialise his imperial piety, was the familiar conventional architecture of the basilicas. In, and often in front of, the apse was a platform, where the altar was placed. Constantine built a basilica of this type in his complex at Trier, very easily adopted for use as a church