Today I went to the Vatican Museums and had the chance to take this lovely photo of one of my absolute favorite sculptures, the Laocoon. This is one of those pieces I first saw back in high school, and one that helped launch my love of art. It’s really a magical work that not only inspired my art historical aspirations, but virtually every major artist of the Renaissance was influenced by the work when it was rediscovered during the 16th century. If you listen to some completely uninformed guides at the Vatican, they’ll tell you it’s by Michelangelo. Absolutely not true!! How hard is it for them to read a book?? It was a theory put forward to generate some press for scholar in my opinion. This marble sculpture from the 1st century AD depicts a serpent coming to kill the Trojan priest Laocoon and his sons, a story told many times, perhaps most famously in Virgil’s Aeneid.
Just look at the muscular forms of Michelangelo’s sculptures (even the Moses) and painted figures on the Sistine and you will see the correlation. Unfortunately the museum is always stuff with hoards that crowd around the piece, so it was some work to get a shot that look tranquil. If you want to see the museums in more solitude, take advantage of the fact that they’ll be open from 7 pm to 11 pm every Friday night in September and October. You can book tickets directly on the museums’ website.