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Movie Review: The Vatican Museums 3D

Michelangelo’s Pieta. Photo by Stanislav Traykov from Wikimedia Commons.

Over the years the Vatican has become home to much of the world’s greatest art. Popes from 1506 to the present collected mankind’s expressions of creativity, hired painters and sculptors, and tried to chronicle man’s search for meaning.

From Julius II’s purchase of Laoccoon and his Sons (1506) to Paul VI’s Collection of Modern Religious Art (begun in 1973), the movie Vatican Museums 3D takes the viewer through the Vatican’s celebrated museums.  However, it is not a standard picture by picture or sculpture by sculpture documentary.  Instead it includes dramatization and symbolism and itself aims to be a work of art.  In that it succeeds, except where the head of the Vatican museums shares his valuable insights.

Although I have studied Michelangelo’s Pieta more than once and have also spent hours learning about Greek masterpieces from picture and slides, the 3D views of such sculptures was new and breathtaking. I couldn’t quite touch Mary’s serene face and, though touching the body of Jesus would be sacrilegious,* it did seem possible.

The 3D view worked beautifully for the sculptures, the architecture, and the dramatization, but it was a bit disconcerting to see Dali’s and Van Gogh’s paintings in 3D. Even the Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel was somehow presented in 3D form.  I found it upsetting that in the Creation of Adam all except God’s index finger* is in 3D.  Why would they forget the most important part of the picture?

However, Miss 16 did not notice that at all. She told me that Vatican Museums 3D was much better than the documentary she had expected.

I, too, had expected a simple documentary. Instead I was treated to a profound and respectful immersion in various artists’ exploration of both humanity and the gospel.

I highly recommend this movie to all art lovers, to students of church history, and to those who love to explore the interplay between Christianity, humanity, and creativity*.  Do watch the stunning preview More information is also available.

This movie has its second and final Canadian showing on October 19 as part of the Front Row Center Cineplex program which has a solid serious of art documentaries planned for this fall. It also shows in Australia.  Unfortunately, it currently does not seem to be available to US and British audiences.

Note:  This one hour documentary, rated G, does contain some nudity as almost all art collections do, but it is not really an issue.

*The Pieta was so stunning in 3D that for the first time in my study of art I emotionally associated a work of art with God.  This is, of course, what the second commandment is all about, and I plan to write about it soon.  Representing God the Father falls into the same category.

This post is linked to Finishing Strong, Trivium Tuesdays.

Disclosure: I received free tickets from Graf-Martin and Cineplex theatres for the purpose of this review.

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One Comment

  1. Amy says:

    Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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