Looking up

ceiling detail in the Vatican Palace  photo by Lynne Rutter
Beautifully painted detail of a massive trompe l'oeil ceiling with gilt backgrounds,  painted by Ludwig Seitz in 1883-7  for Pope Leo XIII, Galleria dei Candelabri, one of the upper galleries of the Vatican Museum.  

Agoraphobe's tip:  queues to visit the Vatican Museums can be epic, but this is one of the few places that does not close for lunch.  Arrive right at noon and you can walk right in and enjoy a calm stroll through a beautifully empty palace.

click on image to view larger

more about this room at Idle Speculations


  1. Sixty thousand
    fired with religious zeal
    heads bared and bowed
    Edda Mussolini on her knees
    Il Papa Consolatore!
    Pope Pius of Benito: "There was revealed to us a man whom Providence caused us to meet."

    He was borne aloft on the Sedia Gestatoria, by attendants in flame-colored livery. He was fanned by other minions majestically agitating great clusters of ostrich plumes upon long poles. His garment was white of a creamy richness, but his robe was all bloodred. On his breast blazed the Crux Pectorale, a great cross of diamonds. And above the shapely, bespectacled head of Pope Pius XI towered the holy apostolic tiara of pure, massy gold.

    Read more:,9171,880486,00.html#ixzz1AtRQm4M3

  2. ok then. different pope. but thanks for stopping by maestro!

  3. Lynne Rutter, get off that ladder in the Vatican! You must have stood on some Bishop's shoulders to get that shot. Great post.

  4. I love this image! As I looked at it, the thought crossed my mind - wouldn't it be fun to achieve the look of gilding with ordinary yellows, oranges and browns?

  5. now Theresa you know that's what telephoto lenses are for! I even had permission to take this picture!

    Mark I love the idea and I have seen it done. Will have to find some pictures of that technique! there is nothing quite as fabulous as the real thing tho- I love the use of gold leaf as a background AND a highlight!

  6. Oohh- love this! I may show it to a client- am trying to explain how I'd like to just highlight an area of the turret ceiling.

    How did you get permission to shoot it? Very cool!

  7. What a great blog: really specialised, with great images and expert commentary. More posts please, however short!

  8. A fabulous post with equisite detail!


    Art by Karena

  9. That is so crisp and pretty and somehow the detail picked out is it makes it a little humorous
    There is NOTHING like real gold...well, I suppose you could *try* and recreate this with shcaibin and a bit of wondasize (she says with tongue firmly in cheek)

  10. Lynne, you have been awarded the Stylish Blogger Award. Here is a link to my post to see what it is all about. Congratulations! Mark


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