Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: alone in the Sistine

alone in the Sistine


In the fall of 1993, my husband and I took a very special, very memorable trip to Italy. Seeing so much of the art, architecture and archeology that I'd studied in art school was literally mind-blowing for me. We spent the largest amount of time in Florence but did have two or three days in Rome before flying home. We spent a day in the Vatican Museums, taking far too long through the numerous gorgeous rooms of amazing collections so that we arrived in the Sistine Chapel just before closing time mid-afternoon (always so early in Italy). It was wall-to-wall with people, all of us craning our necks upwards. I think it was partly restored at the time, I really should dig out my travel diary and see if I wrote anything about that. It was magical yet disappointing that we could not see more and without the crowds.

Now we can see it at this link as if completely alone in the chapel. Turn on the sound and move your mouse around and enjoy! Thanks to Chris Tyrell!

Marja-Leena | 25/04/2010 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, History, Other artists, Photography


Incredible detail, gorgeous colors, this virtual tour is spectacular! Thank you for sharing.

That is great. Certainly there was no way to judge The Sistine when I saw it. The solution, I learned too late, is to go right at opening time or just before closing.
But I do think it's been over-restored.

Wow! I was with a gaggle of other schoolkids, more interested in each other than in art, but I do remember the awe. (It was also pre-restoration, so this is spectacular.)

Loretta - hi! Glad you enjoyed this, it really is remarkable.

Hattie, we were there when they were calling out closing time, to please move on! Kinda annoying...

Pica, I can just imagine :-) for it was distracting even being in a packed crowd of strangers.

So far everyone has said spectacular but it's hard to think of another word equally fitting. The colours appear more intense than what I've seen in reproductions and I wonder if Hattie may be right that they need to be left to age again. Maybe I'll get there in a hundred years (when I'd be able to afford the trip) and I'll let you know :-) Thank you for this.

Susan, I can't remember how the colours compare though they do seem brighter and I'm not sure how to feel about the restoration. I'd like to see it again but like you, I'm not sure we can afford it anymore, even the cost to the environment disturbs us.