Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lions in the Vatican

Everyone who knows me knows I love lions.  I'm a Leo, and my personal motto involves lions (Unus Sed Leo). 

Browsing the bookshelves at a favorite used bookstore, again, I found a beautiful coffee table book from a 1982 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The Vatican Collections; The Papacy and Art also came to the Art Institute of Chicago when I was a year old and my mother says that I was there.  

I don't remember any of it, but I do remember most of what I saw when I had the chance to visit the Vatican myself sixteen years later. Lots of angels and lots of lions.  I tried keeping count, but it was an impossible task.  The worst part of that trip was how rushed and packed everything was, I would have liked more than an afternoon to spend in the Vatican galleries, but it was all we had time for. 

The angel on the cover of the coffee book took me back immediately. 
As for the lions, it was kind of a let down to find that there were not as many photographed and included in this book as I thought there would be.  

The ones that I did find though were pretty interesting. There were a couple St. Jeromes with a lion, because he is always portrayed with a lion. 

The first was by Leonardo Da Vinci, an oil from 1482.
The second St. Jerome in the exhibition was by Girolamo Muziano, another oil done between 1585 and 1592. It was restored the same year as the exhibit.
Then there was a lion statue, actually one of a pair of statues that was inscribed for Pharoah Nectanebo I from B.C. 380-342.  The pair of statues was found in the Pantheon in Rome, originally from Tell Baqliya, Egypt. 
When in Rome, my mom did buy a huge book full of art found in the Vatican, but comparing the two I found that most of the art is not found in the other.  So, this book is definitely a keeper and will be on the shelf as soon as I get rid of the lingering smoke smell (it is very slight, but enough that I notice it).

1 comment:

  1. That Muziano lion is so much more detailed than the Da Vinci. I will be on the look out for Lions for you.

    I read so much fiction that is set either in the Vatican or around it that I would really like to see it one day.