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Photographer's Note

THE ROMANS ARE COMING July 12, 2007

The Vatican Museum was born after the discovery on January 14, 1506 of a statue on a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The reigning Pope, Julius II, immediately dispatched sculptors Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giuliano Sangallo to examine the discovery. When the two sculptors returned, awestruck by what they had seen an almost intact marble statue of the pagan priest, Laoco鰊 and his sons being attacked by a pair of serpents the Pope purchased the seventeen-hundred year old classical statue from the vineyard owner. And exactly one month after it was uncovered, the Laoco鰊, albeit missing an arm, was put on public display on the grounds of the Vatican. Subsequently Julius founded the Vatican Museum, built the Sistine Chapel, ordered Michelangelo and Raphael among others to decorate it. In 1906, exactly four hundred years after the statue was discovered, the missing arm of Laoco鰊 was recovered, and reunited with the statue.

Several weeks ago I posted an image of my favorite statue, with the title,What Impressed Michelangelo, and gave birth to the great museum.

In order to visit the Vatican Museum, it is essential to reserve tickets at least a month in advance. Over four million visitors traipse through the museum each year, witnessing a river of humanity flowing through its halls. As just a drop in that river, when I was passing by the Galleria dei Buisti housing these Roman busts just one of 54 galleries in the great museum I quickly pulled out of the line, set up my tripod and took a few shots of the room.

Mesut Ilgim, who has photographed extensively the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Aphrodisias, notes that he recognizes Claudius, Tiberius and Marcus Aurelius (full size figure). It makes sense that Emperor Tiberius (lower left) is among those depicted. The Laoco鰊 was discovered among the ruins of the bathhouse in Tiberius's Palace, which, by the 16th century, had become a vineyard. I would like to dedicate this photo to my good friend Mesut.

Nikon D-70, ISO 200, tripod-mounted shot.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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