One of my main goals for this trip was to really appreciate art. Anyone can look at a painting and see that it is a pretty picture, but I want to be moved by art. We’re now off to Venice and leaving the Italian Renaissance, the most recognizable transforming moment in art history, behind. We recently visited the Vatican Museum in Rome where I saw Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, a piece whose fame is topped, in my mind, only by his David, and by the Mona Lisa. To me this was an example of a pretty picture.  I walked into the chapel and, like everyone else, immediately looked up. I recognized the greatness of the work but felt little beyond that. A few superficial factors may have caused this, such as the dim lighting, the noise, and the amount of people, or that I came in at the front of the chapel instead of the back, but whatever it was, I was not really moved by this piece. Contrasting this was my visit, later that day, to Bernini’s The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, a Baroque statue in a chapel dedicated to Bernini. I don’t know how to express in words what I felt looking at it, but I was moved by this statue. Now I just need to figure out what, in a piece of art, causes this reaction in order to have a greater appreciation for art over the rest of the trip.

Dan Thiessen

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