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Ever felt moved by a painting or building or sculpture? Art has a way of ministering to the soul, bypassing reason and words, heading straight to the spirit. As anyone knows who has connected with art from a different country or century, beauty transcends time and culture. Perhaps that’s what motivated Pope Julius II in 1506 to begin collecting sculpture and to commission all kinds of art. In Discovering the Vatican Museums, we explore the astounding network of museums that resulted from Pope Julius II’s vision.

Discovering the Vatican Museums presents the A-team of Italian expert/enthusiasts, each one a Vatican Museum curator or an art historian. My new favorite expert – and you will fall in love with him, too – is Antonio Paolucci. He’s a storyteller extraordinaire and was the director of the Vatican Museums when they filmed this series. He’s now retired at the age of 80. He brings tremendous passion and poetry to his descriptions of the players and key moments in the Vatican Museums’ history.

In this clip below, Paolucci talks about the second time Michelangelo was summoned to the Vatican for work. The first time, he was 32 and Pope Julius II asked him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This time, it was a different task and a different pope commissioning the work. And as Dr. Paolucci points out, Michaelangelo was a different man.

Another juicy clip is when Dr. Paolucci describes Raphael and the devastating effect his death had on Romans in 1520 when he died at a very young age.

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