When I was 15, I wrote a comprehensive analysis on the life and work of the artist Michelangelo, which ignited my passion for art and the history of artists. While he was still alive, Michelangelo was widely regarded as the greatest artist of his time (which is rare, as many well known artists only gain fame after their death), and I think we can all agree he’s on the shortlist for the greatest artist to have ever lived.
So, the chance to see some of Michelangelo’s work for myself was something I was really excited about on my first trip to Rome. Of course this includes the phenomenal frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, part of the Vatican Museums. My first entry into the chapel wasn’t the best, it was hot and impossibly crowded, and you’re not supposed to talk, but everyone does anyway. It’s hard to find a moment to yourself to reflect on what you’re actually seeing: the work of a true, undisputed genius.
Since that first trip, I was determined that my second time at the Chapel would be a different experience. I booked our tickets early, so we could skip the line (TIP: Don’t get sucked in to the special “Skip The Line” packages, if you buy a ticket online here, you automatically get to skip the ridiculously long line.) and made sure we had the first entrance of the day. We sprinted straight to the Sistine Chapel, doing our best to ignore the spectacular surroundings, knowing it was for a good reason. It paid off when we had a quiet, peaceful Sistine Chapel around us, shared with only a few other people.
Once we spent significant time in the Chapel, we went backwards, working our way through the endless museum sections. While the art it houses is amazing, I was fairly obsessed with just the building itself.
I’m very into the stars, the moon, the planets, constellations, essentially anything in the universe, and the idea that we’re all connected. The universe is incomprehensibly massive, yet the same elements found in abundance in the universe are also found in our bodies. Just to think about it gives me goosebumps, so to see so many references to stars and maps and the night sky was very moving for me.
Now that I look through my photos, I barely have any of the actual/technical art, the things hanging on the walls. I snapped the staircase and the floor tiles and the wallpaper, and of course, those ceilings.
And one final perk of being early risers?
You get to snap some moments alone, before the hallways get stuffed to the brim with other museum visitors!