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- Thursday, March 30, 2017

CROSS – CULTURAL MANAGEMENT BBSB 4103

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1.0              INTRODUCTION
Vatican City
Figure 1: Vatican City

Sited on the banks of the Tiber River, on a hill sits the Vatican City. It is a place that has one of the richest histories in the world and is one of the most influential. The religious history that surrounds the Vatican City crosses centuries and is now the embodiment of many of the most important parts of the cultural history of Rome.

The Vatican City is home to the Roman Catholic Church headquarters. There we will find the central government for the Church, the Bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the Pope and the College of Cardinals.

Every year millions upon millions of people travel to the Vatican City, primarily to see the Pope but also to worship in St Peter’s basilica and to view the wonders that are stored in the Vatican Museums.

1.1              The Beginning of the Vatican City
Technically speaking, the Vatican City is a country, an independent city-state and is the smallest in the whole world. The Vatican City’s political body is governed by the Pope but, and not everyone knows this, it is many, many years younger than the Church.

As a political body, the Vatican City has been classed as a Sovereign State since 1929, when a treaty was signed between the Kingdom of Italy and the Catholic Church. That treaty was the end result of more than 3 years of negotiations on how certain relations should be handled between them, namely political, financial and religious.

Although the negotiations took 3 years, the dispute actually began back in 1870 and neither the Pope nor his cabinet would agree to leave the Vatican City until the dispute was resolved. That happened in 1929 with the Lateran Treaty.

This was the defining point for the Vatican as it was this treaty that determined the City as a completely new entity. It was this treaty that split the Vatican City from the rest of the Papal States that were, in essence, most of the Kingdom of Italy from 765 through to 1870. Much of the territory was brought into The Kingdom of Italy in 1860 with Rome and Lazio not capitulating until 1870.

The roots of the Vatican City go back much further though. Indeed, we can trace them back as far as the 1st Century AD when the Catholic Church was first established. Between the 9th and 10th Centuries right on through to the Renaissance period, the Catholic Church was at the top of its power, politically speaking. The Popes gradually took on more and more governing power eventually heading up all of the regions that surrounded Rome.

The Papal States were responsible of the government of Central Italy until the unification of Italy, almost a thousand years of rule. For a great deal of this time, following their return to the City in 1377 after an exile to France that lasted 58 years, the reigning Popes would reside in one of a number of palaces in Rome.   When the time cane for Italy to unify the popes refused to recognize that the Italian King had a right to rule and they refused to leave the Vatican. This ended in 1929.

Much of what people see in the Vatican City, the paintings, sculpture and architecture, was created during those Golden years. Now revered artists, people such as Raphael, Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo made the journey to the Vatican City to pronounce their faith and their dedication to the Catholic Church. This faith can be seen in the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s basilica.

1.2              The Vatican City Now
Today, the Vatican City remains a religious and historical landmark, as important now as it was then. It receives millions of visitors from all around the world, visitors who come to see the beauty of the City, to take in its history and the culture and to express their belief in the Catholic Church.

The influence and the power of the Vatican City were not left in the past though. It is the center, the heart of the Catholic Church and, as such, because Catholicism is still one of the single largest religions in the entire world, it remains as a highly influential and visible presence in the world today.

In between the priceless art houses in the Museums, the beautiful architecture that is St Peters Basilica and the religious significance of the Pope, the Vatican City has become one of the most popular destinations in the world for travelers. It is the embodiment of some of the more significant parts of both Western and Italian history, opening a window onto the past, a past that lives on today.




2.0       SISTINE CHAPEL

The Sistine Chapel (Latin: Sacellum Sixtinum; Italian: Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescos that decorate the interior, and most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

During the reign of Sixtus IV, a team of Renaissance painters that included Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Roselli, created a series of frescos depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ, offset by papal portraits above and trompe l’oeil drapery below. These paintings were completed in 1482, and on 15 August 1483 Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a masterpiece without precedent that was to change the course of Western art. In a different climate after the Sack of Rome, he returned and between 1535 and 1541, painted The Last Judgment for Popes Clement VII and Paul III. The fame of Michelangelo's paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors to the chapel, ever since they were revealed five hundred years ago.

Figure 2: The Sistine Chapel as it may have appeared in the 15th century (19th-century drawing)


            2.1       Architecture
The chapel is a high rectangular building, for which absolute measurements are hard to ascertain, as available measurements are for the interior: 40.9 metres (134 ft) long by 13.4 metres (44 ft) wide, the dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament.

Its exterior is unadorned by architectural or decorative details, as is common in many Italian churches of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. It has no exterior fa├žade or exterior processional doorways, as the ingress has always been from internal rooms within the Apostolic Palace (Papal Palace), and the exterior can be seen only from nearby windows and light-wells in the palace. Subsidence and cracking of masonry such as must also have affected the Cappella Maggiore has necessitated the building of very large buttresses to brace the exterior walls. The accretion of other buildings has further altered the exterior appearance of the Chapel.

The building is divided into three stories of which the lowest is a very tall basement level with several utilitarian windows and a doorway giving onto the exterior court. Internally, the basement is robustly vaulted to support the chapel. Above is the main space, the Sistine Chapel, the vaulted ceiling rising to 20.7 metres (68 ft). The building had six tall arched windows down each side and two at either end, several of which have been blocked. Above the vault is a third story with wardrooms for guards. At this level, an open projecting gangway was constructed, which encircled the building supported on an arcade springing from the walls. The gangway has been roofed as it was a continual source of water leaking in to the vault of the Chapel.

Figure 3: Exterior of the Sistine Chapel

2.3       Papal conclave
One of the functions of the Sistine Chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. On the occasion of a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel, from which smoke arises as a signal. If white smoke appears, created by burning the ballots of the election, a new Pope has been elected. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds vote, the cardinals send up black smoke — created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives — it means that no successful election has yet occurred.

The conclave also provided for the cardinals a space in which they can hear mass, and in which they can eat, sleep, and pass time attended by servants. From 1455, conclaves have been held in the Vatican; until the Great Schism, they were held in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Since 1996, John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis requires the cardinals to be lodged in the Domus Sanctae Marthae during a papal conclave, but to continue to vote in the Sistine Chapel.

Canopies for each cardinal-elector were once used during conclaves—a sign of equal dignity. After the new Pope accepts his election, he would give his new name; at this time, the other Cardinals would tug on a rope attached to their seats to lower their canopies. Until reforms instituted by Saint Pius X, the canopies were of different colours to designate which Cardinals had been appointed by which Pope. Paul VI abolished the canopies altogether, since, under his papacy, the population of the College of Cardinals had increased so much to the point that they would need to be seated in rows of two against the walls, making the canopies obstruct the view of the cardinals in the back row.

2.2       Interior of the Sistine Chapel
The general proportions of the chapel use the length as the unit of measurement. This has been divided by three to get the width and by two to get the height. Maintaining the ratio, there were six windows down each side and two at either end. Defined proportions were a feature of Renaissance architecture and reflected the growing interest in the Classical heritage of Rome.

The ceiling of the chapel is a flattened barrel vault springing from a course that encircles the walls at the level of the springing of the window arches. This barrel vault is cut transversely by smaller vaults over each window, which divide the barrel vault at its lowest level into a series of large pendentives rising from shallow pilasters between each window. The barrel vault was originally painted brilliant-blue and dotted with gold stars, to the design of Piermatteo Lauro de' Manfredi da Amelia. The pavement is in opus alexandrinum, a decorative style using marble and coloured stone in a pattern that reflects the earlier proportion in the division of the interior and also marks the processional way from the main door, used by the Pope on important occasions such as Palm Sunday.

A screen or transenna in marble by Mino da Fiesole, Andrea Bregno, and Giovanni Dalmata divides the chapel into two parts. Originally these made equal space for the members of the Papal Chapel within the sanctuary near the altar and the pilgrims and townsfolk without. However, with growth in the number of those attending the Pope, the screen was moved giving a reduced area for the faithful laity. The transenna is surmounted by a row of ornate candlesticks, once gilt, and has a wooden door, where once there was an ornate door of gilded wrought iron. The sculptors of the transenna also provided the cantoria or projecting choir gallery.

Sistina-interno.jpg
Figure 4: View of the interior of the Sistine Chapel.

Figure 5: The interior of the Sistine Chapel showing the ceiling in relation to the other frescoes.


Figure 6: Diagram of the fresco decoration of the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

3.0       THE IMPORTANCE OF VATICAN CITY TO CHRISTIAN CULTURE

Though the Sistine Chapel is a famous icon for Christianity, its name existed long before the advent of the religion. The name was first given to one of the hills on the side of the Tiber River, which is opposite to the Seven Hills of Rome. 

The city of the Vatican is a sovereign city-state located entirely within the boundaries of Rome. It is believed to be situated on the spot where St. Peter, a prominent figure in the history of Christianity, was martyred and buried around 2000 years ago. In 324 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine, built the first papal church called the Constantinian Basilica over St. Peter's tomb.

Outside of its art, the Sistine Chapel is most famous for being the place where Papal Conclaves take place for the election of a new pope. Lesser known is that the chapel also houses a corporate body known as the Papal Chapel. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late-fifteenth century, this body comprised about 200 persons, including clerics, officials of the Vatican, and distinguished laity.

Figure 7: Pope Sixtus IV, after whom the Sistine Chapel is named

The Papal calendar prescribes 50 occasions during the year that the entire Papal Chapel should meet. Of these, most are masses, of which eight are held in basilicas—generally St. Peters—and are attended by large congregations. These include the Christmas Day and Easter masses, at which the Pope himself is the celebrant. The other masses can be held in a smaller, less-public space, such as the Sistine Chapel, which was built on the site of its predecessor, the Cappella Maggiore that in its time served the same purpose.

The Cappella Maggiore derived its name, translated as the Greater Chapel, from the fact that there was another chapel also in use by the Pope and his retinue for daily worship. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV, this was the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, which had been decorated by Fra Angelico. The Cappella Maggiore is recorded as existing in 1368, but by the time of its demolition to make way for the present chapel, the Cappella Maggiore was in a ruinous state with its walls leaning.

The present chapel was designed by Baccio Pontelli for Pope Sixtus IV, for whom it is named, and built under the supervision of Giovannino de Dolci between 1473 and 1484. After its completion, the chapel was decorated with frescoes by a number of the most famous artists of the late-fifteenth century, including Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Perugino.

The first mass in the Sistine Chapel was celebrated on August 9, 1483, the Feast of the Assumption, at which the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The Sistine Chapel has maintained its function to the present day, and continues to host the important services of the Papal calendar, unless the Pope is traveling. It also houses a permanent choir, for whom much original music has been written, the most famous piece being Allegri's Miserere, a setting of the psalm for Maundy Thursday.

The pictorial decoration of the Sistine Chapel is comprised of frescoes and a set of tapestries. They are the work of different artists and are part of a number of different commissions, some of which were in conflict with each other.

The walls are divided into three main tiers. The lower is decorated with frescoed, wall hangings in silver and gold. The central tier of the walls has two cycles of paintings, which complement each other, The Life of Moses and The Life of Christ. The upper tier is divided into two zones. At the lower level of the windows is a Gallery of Popes painted at the same time as the Lives. Around the arched tops of the windows are areas known as the lunettes which contain the Ancestors of Christ, painted by Michelangelo as part of the scheme for the ceiling.

The ceiling, commissioned by Pope Julius II and painted by Michelangelo from 1508 to 1511, has a series of nine paintings showing God's Creation of the World, God's relationship with Mankind and Mankind's fall from God's Grace. On the large pendentives that support the vault are painted 12 Biblical and Classical men and women who prophesied that God would send Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind.

Subsequently, Raphael was commissioned by Pope Leo X to design a series of tapestries to hang around the lower tier of the walls. These depict the lives of the two leaders among the Apostles who established the Christian church in Rome, Saints Peter and Paul.

Although Michelangelo's complex design for the ceiling was not quite what his patron, Pope Julius II, had in mind when he commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Twelve Apostles, the scheme displayed a consistent iconographical pattern. However, this was disrupted by a further commission to Michelangelo to decorate the wall above the altar with The Last Judgment, 1537-1541. The painting of this scene necessitated the obliteration of two episodes from the Lives, several of the Popes and two sets of Ancestors. Two of the windows were blocked and two of Raphael's tapestries became redundant.

The wall paintings were executed by premier painters of the fifteenth century: Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rossellini, Signorelli, and their respective workshops, which included Pinturicchio, Piero di Cosimo, and Bartolomeo della Gatta. The subjects were historical religious themes, selected and divided according to the medieval concept of the partition of world history into three epochs: before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, between Moses and Christ's birth, and the Christian era thereafter. They underline the continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, or the transition from the Mosaic law to the Christian religion.

The walls were painted over an astonishingly short period of time, barely 11 months, from July 1481 to May 1482. The painters were each required first to execute a sample fresco; these were to be officially examined and evaluated in January 1482. However, it was so evident at such an early stage that the frescoes would be satisfactory that by October 1481, the artists were given the commission to execute the remaining ten stories.

The pictorial arrangement for the chapel was comprised of a cycle each from the Old and New Testament depicting scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ. The narratives began at the altar wall—the frescoes painted there yielding to Michelangelo's Last Judgment a mere 30 years later—continued along the long walls of the chapel, and ended at the entrance wall. A gallery of papal portraits was painted above these depictions, and the latter were completed underneath by representations of painted curtains. The individual scenes from the two cycles contain typological references to one another. The Old and New Testament are understood as constituting a whole, with Moses appearing as the prefiguration of Christ.

Figure 8: Peter receives the keys from Jesus, an authority passed on to each successive pope, according to Catholic tradition.

Due to the extraordinary talents of Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Sistine Chapel has become one of the most famous art galleries in the western world. The chapel has become a repository not only for some of the finest artworks ever created, but also Christian images of iconic dimensions.


CONCLUSION

Today, the Vatican City remains a religious and historical landmark, as important now as it was then. It receives millions of visitors from all around the world, visitors who come to see the beauty of the City, to take in its history and the culture and to express their belief in the Catholic Church.

The influence and the power of the Vatican City were not left in the past though. It is the center, the heart of the Catholic Church and, as such, because Catholicism is still one of the single largest religions in the entire world, it remains as a highly influential and visible presence in the world today.

In between the priceless art houses in the Museums, the beautiful architecture that is Sistine Chapel and the religious significance of the Pope, the Vatican City has become one of the most popular destinations in the world for travelers. It is the embodiment of some of the more significant parts of both Western and Italian history, opening a window onto the past, a past that lives on today.


           










ATTACHMENT

REFERENCES
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Johnson, Geraldine A. Renaissance Art : A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford
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Murray, Peter, and Linda Murray. The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Phillips, D. Z, and Mario Von der Ruhr. Biblical Concepts and Our World, Claremont
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Pittaluga, Mary. The Sistine Chapel. Roma: Del Turco Editore, 1957.

Tischler, Nancy M. Thematic Guide to Biblical Literature. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
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Viladesau, Richard. The Triumph of the Cross : The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts from the Renaissance to the Counter-Reformation. New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.

Wall, James M. “Controversy over the Sistine Ceiling.” The Christian Century Vol. 104 Issue 24 (8/26/87 – 9/2/87):708.

Williamson, Beth. Christian Art : A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2004.





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