As this blog will publish on Easter Day, I found myself thinking about the holiday and the most evocative paintings I’ve seen of the events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ. When in Italy, I enjoy roaming around to various churches to see “Last Supper” frescoes painted by Renaissance artists of the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his death (see this blog). Although depictions of this scene were definitely a favorite of Renaissance artists, or at least have lasted throughout time, there are many more elements to the story that painters have brought to life.
A great place to see fabulous paintings is the Pinacoteca in the Vatican Museums. Unlike the rest of the Musei Vaticani, the Pinacoteca has fewer people milling around. You can see Caravaggio’s masterful, poignant Baroque “Entombment of Christ” or Raphael’s spectacular depiction of the “Transfiguration of Christ.” Works by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Gozzoli, Fra Angelico, and Perugino also delight the eyes.
In the Sistine Chapel, you can see major scenes from the Easter story—the Last Supper and the Resurrection of Christ. Since the frescoes are on the Northern and Eastern walls respectively, you will have to pull your eyes away from Michelangelo’s breathtaking ceiling to notice them though—no easy feat.
To avoid the crowds, skip-the-lines, hear the best stories, and make sure you are seeing all the highlights, I highly recommend taking a tour. The Tour Guy offers a small group visit that we’ve enjoyed in the past. The Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel includes Vatican tickets to skip-the-line and takes you through the main highlights of the museum. The most fabulous part is the tour gives you earlier access to the Sistine Chapel…before the masses are allowed in. Trust me—it’s worth it to have that precious time without the crowds. I’ve had that experience once with the Tour Guy and it was divine; all the other times I’ve seen the Sistine Chapel have been with tons of people crowded in and haven’t been nearly as enjoyable.
The Privileged Skip-the-Line-Vatican Tour includes:
- Vatican tickets to skip the line
- Early access to the Sistine Chapel without the crowds
- A small group tour with specialized guide
- Visit to the Pinecone Courtyard
- Voyage through Galleries of Maps, Tapestries, and Candelabra
- Visit to Raphael Rooms
- St. Peter’s Basilica on your own featuring Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s Baldachino
You can use our affiliate link to book your tour or go to the Vatican website and book on your own. Here is our affiliate link for the Privileged Vatican Tour: https://thetourguy.com/tours/vatican/sistine-chapel-vatican-tour?partner=2
This blog explains how to book through the Vatican website: https://roaminghistorian.com/2019/09/08/vatican-museum-things-to-do-in-rome/
I hope you enjoy all the wonderful artistic depictions of Easter that Renaissance and Baroque Italian artists have created on your next trip to Italy. Rome is truly a paradise for lovers of art, history, architecture, food, and culture. Happy travels!
Check out our fabulous photographic prints on our Etsy shop for yourself or as a gift. The prints featured in the gallery above are all available for purchase. If you don’t see a listing for one, just ask.
Are you looking for a fun small-group tour in Europe or the United States? Roaming Historian is an affiliate of The Tour Guy. They offer unique experiences, small groups, special access, and exceptional guides. Use our affiliate link, Tour Guy, or visit our page dedicated to them to learn more about the Tour Guy.
Disclosure: Roaming Historian may derive revenue from affiliate links and other sources, which helps offset the costs of bringing you the information we do. The blogs and reviews posted on this website are of our own opinion though.