Originally produced in 1997 on the threshold of the Third Millennium of the Christian Era, and in celebration of the Jubilee of the Year of Our Lord 2000,
LENGTH: 410 Minutes
CATALOG #: 20333
UPC #: 6-4603203339-7
ISBN #: 156839-232-x
RELEASE YEAR: 2006
PRODUCER: Edizioni Musei Vaticani, Vatican City State
The Vatican Museums was the culmination of three years of research and filming, the collaboration of thirty-two scholars and historians from around the world, a crew of forty directors of photography, operators, and lighting technicians, state-of-the-art digital cinematography, lighting, animation, and computerized editing, and the work of a famous composer with original performances by master musicians.
Now available on DVD for the first time, this historic three-disc collection features seven hours of magnificent documentary film that illuminates and chronicles the great journey of the human spirit. Here then is the world’s most spectacular and sacred repository of art, history, and faith.
Produced by the Edizioni Musei Vaticani, Vatican City State Directed by Luca De Mata Original Music by Stelvio Cipriani Music copyright held by Edizioni Musei Vaticani, Bixio c.e.m.s.a. Scientific Direction by the Vatican Museums Written by Professor Carlo Pietrangeli, the Trappist Nuns of Vitorchiano, Pietro Amato, Fabrizio Bisconti, Francesco Buranelli, Mario Ferrazza, Paolo Liverani, Jozef Penkowski, Orazio Petrosillo, & Alessandra Uncini
DISC I Chapter 1 • HISTORY of the MUSEUMS Chapter 2 • GREEK ART in the VATICAN MUSEUMS Chapter 3 • ROMAN ART Chapter 4 • The EGYPTIAN MUSEUM Chapter 5 • The ETRUSCAN MUSEUM
DISC II Chapter 6 • The ORIGINS of CHRISTIAN ART Chapter 7 •The SISTINE CHAPEL Chapter 8 • The RAPHAEL ROOMS & The LOGGIA Chapter 9 • The HISTORICAL MUSEUM at ST. JOHN LATERAN Chapter 10 • The ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM
DISC III Chapter 11 • The PICTURE GALLERY Chapter 12 • The COLLECTION of MODERN RELIGIOUS ART Chapter 13 • The APOSTOLIC PALACE Chapter 14 • VATICAN CITY Chapter 15 • The GREAT BASILICA
“This three-disc set (five chapters per disc) introduces the Vatican Museums, discusses the origins of Christian art, and views Vatican City artwork (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Etruscan). The Sistine Chapel, Raphael rooms, Loggia, Ethnological Museum, Apostolic Palace, Historical Museum at St. John Lateran, and Great Basilica are among the toured sites. An overview of the respective museum accompanies information on the various artworks found within each… the visual transitions and music choices are exceptional, and the extensive coverage offers viewers an important visual record of extraordinary artworks. Suggested for large public library art history and travel collections.” —Booklist
“Although a visit to Vatican City would be a wonderful experience, this ambitious and handsomely packaged 8-volume roam through the city’s museums and buildings is a) much less expensive than a real trip, b) offers a guided tour, and c) uses supporting contextual footage not found in your Fodor (print) handbook. We watched the sixth volume, “The Ethnological Museum & The Picture Gallery,” which featured a host of well-known (and lesser known) artworks chronicling, in essence, the pictorial history of Christianity, as well as a fascinating overview of religion in non-European cultures (examining death rites, conceptions of deities, and worship habits). As the program traces the early seeds of Christianity in these colonized countries, the artistic artifacts shown (initially, copies of European Christian symbolism) gradually give way to indigenous interpretations of Christianity. In one notable and symbolically complex example, we see a beautifully carved crucifix which depicts Christ bound to a cross comprised of African slaves. A thought-provoking series, this is sure to be quite popular in both academic and general collections. Three Stars.” – Video Librarian
This series presents the Vatican’s vast museum complex and collections To celebrate the new millennium, the Vatican commissioned this documentary series and gathered a large research and film crew. These eight videos present an extensive, rich visual catalog of the Vatican museums. …larger academic libraries may want to consider this scenes for its comprehensiveness. – Library Journal
“This eight volume series showcases Roman, Etruscan, Greek, and Egyptian art in the various Vatican museums; the origins of Christian art and the Sistine Chapel; the Raphael Rooms. the Loggia and the Historical Museum at St.John Lateran; the Ethnological Museum and the Picture Gallery; the collection of modern religious art and the Apostolic Palace; and the Vatican City itself, including the Great Basilica. …a tour-de-force that will inform and dazzle the viewer. …especially recommended as a superb memorial fund acquisition for school or public library video collections.” – Wisconsin Bookwatch
“I found it fascinating and inspiring and a wonderful tool for telling the Gospel story through art.” – Sr. Susan James Pauline Books & Media
This lengthy presentation mirrors the huge collections of one of the world’s most spectacular museums. Although the Vatican Museum is sometimes thought of as one museum, it is actually many, and this set takes the viewer on a tour of a myriad of its highlights. The viewer will feel as if he or she is walking through the museums halls or flying over the outside buildings, always moving. This technique attempts to avoid the static feel of looking at paintings and sculptures that are simply sitting there – and it works. Stills are also used, some superimposed on others. Clips of old films (both motion pictures and news-type coverage) are inserted in a few places to illustrate that point in history.
With a background of instrumental music and choirs, the narrator explains the history of the art works, how they came to be in that particular museum, and the construction of the museum itself. The viewer will see and hear about furniture, tapestries, costumes, and armor, as well as sculptures, paintings, mosaics, friezes, frescoes, and more; the variety is overwhelming. The pieces and rooms are beautiful, and there is a real feel in the film for this space and the layout, including the size of sculptures when ceilings, floors, and arches are shown as they surround the pieces.
While all of this may seem like it should recommend this documentary highly, there is a slight reservation: The narration becomes repetitive. In several sections a lecturer is actually shown sitting at a stand reading the narration, which is not interesting at all. Artists and historians who are intensely interested in the subjects covered by these museums may be interested in viewing all of the sections of this DVD set. Instructors may consider showing several chapters – one at a time (there are 15 chapters on the three discs) – to their classes. There is sufficient art analysis and history here to make it useful; however, the presentation leaves something to be desired. Small doses, spaced widely, would be the best approach! But for those interested on a serious level in Vatican history, architecture, Greek or Roman art, the Egyptians, Etruscans, early Christian art, and modern religious art will want to view relevant chapters. – Educational Media Reviews Online