The exhibit includes armor, art, sculptures, relics of the saints, and papal objects. Penn Bullock wrote in the Miami New Times, "next year marks the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo's ascent to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where he painted the world's most celebrated fresco. It's also the anniversary of the Catholic Church's Swiss Guard, the Vatican museums, and St. Peter's Basilica. To commemorate the occasion of its total institutional domination of Europe's art and culture, the Vatican will display many of its relics and valuables in a traveling exhibition."
Vatican Splendors is an exhibit of armor, art from master artists, sculptures, relics of the saints, and papal belongings. As explained on its website, Vatican Splendors allows one to experience two thousand years of Vatican art and history through two hundred featured items. The exhibit is divided into ten galleries, taking viewers on a visual and auditory journey "through the ages of artistic expression and religious iconography." These galleries consist of Early Christian Dialogue Between Faith and Art; The rise of Christian Rome; The Early Renaissance; Michelangelo; The Renaissance Basilica; Art in the Service of Faith; The Art of the Liturgy; Dialogue with the World; The successors of Peter—Papal Portraiture; and Art and the Contemporary Papacy. The Vatican Splendors' website recognizes this exhibit as "one of the largest collections to ever tour North America." Many of these artifacts were loaned by the Vatican Museums and have never been viewed by the public in or outside the Vatican.
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