Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vatican Splendors Exhibition Cleveland, Ohio, and St. Paul, MN.

The Vatican Splendors exhibition will be at:

Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio
beginning May 31, 2008, and

Minnesota History Center in St. Paul
beginning September 27, 2008.

“Experience 2,000 years of Vatican art and history — Michelangelo, Bernini, Giotto, and others. Artwork dating back to the third century. This exhibit comprises one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour North America. Many items have never before been on public view.”

Vatican Splendors web site.

My wife and I went to see Vatican Splendors when it came to Florida. It is wonderful — just like the description. We were there about 2 and half hours.

You walk through the exhibition with an audio device giving a general overview of the major sections of the exhibit. Each piece in the exhibition, however, has its own written description on a display card on the wall. The Vatican Splendors’ written explanations/descriptions were particularly well done. With adjoining items, the written display cards often tell a little story. So, this is not 2.5 hours of only reading, “Baroque painting 17th century ” — we did not see 200 separate ancient items, but we traveled along a time path with interesting stops along the way and read about their place in the history of the Vatican.

For example, I learned that the name Vatican was simply the Roman name of that particular hill. When the Christians began praying there, they called it what it was. They and everyone in Rome called it Vatican hill, and not as I had guessed because it was a Latin word for some Roman Catholic function.

In the remainder of 2008, Vatican Splendors will be in Cleveland and then in St. Paul, MN.

We have been to two other similar exhibitions when they came to Florida. One was on the close Jewish connection of the earliest churches and the other was on the written transmission of the Bible.

I often have images from those two exhibitions: “Cradle of Christianity” and “Ink and Blood” come to mind whenever I think about those topics and times. I am sure it will be the same for the Vatican Splendors. Vatican Splendors had a small 2-inch square chunk of rock taken from a wall near Peter’s tomb. Written on the block is: “Peter is here.” Every time I think of St. Peter’s Basilica, that tiny carving comes to mind.

Here are the other exhibitions' web sites -- I think they are not touring now, but the web sites are good resources:

Ink and Blood web site

Cradle of Christianity — The Israel Museum

If you have the opportunity go see Vatican Splendors. An oblate's thumbs up for Vatican Splendors.

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