How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

See the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - DID IT

Our tour guide told us we could take pictures anywhere in the Vatican, EXCEPT in the Sistine Chapel.  Let me just admit that there is a "Bad Girl" that lives in me that always wants to do exactly what I've been told I can't.  So the urge to snap a shot was overwhelming. Talking wasn't allow either, and the guards in the chapel constantly yelled at people to stop talking (what's wrong with that picture?)  Anyone caught trying to take a photo was tapped on the shoulder and escorted from the room. I had to be careful but I was up for the challenge. My Canon EOS Xsi, hung at waist-level from a strap around my neck.  It was set to the highest resolution and widest lens setting possible. I melted into the packed crowd in the middle of the room.  Then I nonchalantly tilted the camera toward the ceiling without bringing it to my eye  (of course) and pretended to be intently studying the ceiling as I snapped away, hoping I would capture something worth saving.
Yes, I know it's wrong, consider this my "confession."  I got some great shots and the high rez setting allowed me to crop out some of the classic vignettes you see here.  Beyond the photos, I was stunned by being in the presence of one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of all time. The feeling of standing where Michelangelo stood, walked, and painted for four long, reportedly miserable years was overwhelming. The work defies belief, even when you see it with your own eyes.  The ceiling is barrel vaulted, yet the figures appear in perfect perspective when viewed from below.  When you consider that Michelangelo was a sculptor, not a painter, and he had to learn the plaster painting technique as well as the unique perspective required of the project, it's even more unbelievable.

Of all of the museums and art on my list of things to see, the Sistine Chapel has always been at the top and always seemed like one of the least likely, so I was thrilled to be able to check the Did-It box and to have illegal photos to prove it.  "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

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