About This Print
The first day I saw St Peter’s Basilica it was a rainy winter day. The result was, as you can see from this print, that the skies above the Vatican had an incredible texture to them. And the wet reflective quality of the cobblestones in Piazza San Pietro were fantastic. There’s such a strong mood to this print that you would never get on a clear blue day. Whenever I look at this print, I feel a sense of drama in those moody skies and the dark shadows.
There’s a strong Italian flavor to this print of St Peter’s from the baroque architecture to the people walking away from the church. And in the midst of St Peter’sÂ square you’ll notice a Christmas tree and manger. I visited after Christmas as far as anyone in the states would be concerned. However, in Italian practice, Christmas ends with the Epiphany which was yet to come on that first day I stood outside St Peter’s.
There’s something organic to me about old world churches like St Peter’s Basilica. These were multi-generational buildings. The person who began their construction was rarely the person who completed it. Construction on St Peter’s began in 1506 and it wasn’t completed until 1626. And that’s just the main basilica. The church building we see today is an aggregation of subsequent building efforts over the passing years. For example, it was decades later before Bernini’s dramatic colonnade around the famous St Peter’s Square was constructed. When you look at heritage architecture like St Peter’s you really are looking at the collected generations of architecture and sweat.
This was only the first of many visits to the Vatican while I was in Rome, but this print of the stormy skies over the St Peter’s has always been etched on my memory. There’s such a strong sense of the time of the year and the dramatic tension between the architecture and the heavens. I almost feel as if I could step back into this image there’s so much depth and sense of life to it.
Have you stood before St Peter’s as well? Or is a visit to the Vatican seen in this print still a dream? I hope you might take a second to share what speaks to you most in this Vatican print!