THE VATICAN MUSEUM'S MOST FAMOUS STATUE
The ruins of legendary Troy (Trova), first excavated by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schiemann in 1872, are located close the straits called the Dardanelles (Çanakkale Bogazi) in Western Turkey, and not far from the site of another legendary skirmish, the Battle of Gallipoli of First World War fame, where my grandfather fought for eight months. I had previously submitted a photograph of a Middair Collision of Bullets in that horrific battle.
Homer, the mythical blind poet who lived in Ephesus around 750 BC, wrote about the Trojan Wars that took place several hundred years earlier. The wars had been instigated by Paris, the son of King Priam of the Trojans, running off with the Helen, the magnificent wife of Achaean King Menelaus of Sparta. A thousand ships were launched by the Greeks, Homer wrote, who laid siege to Troy. Numberless warriors died, Among the heroes was the warrior Achilles, who defeated Paris brother, Hector. And Achilles himself was killed by an arrow from the bow of Paris that had struck Achilles on his only vulnerable part his ankle. An excellent photo depicting an arrow imbedded in Achilless Heel was previously submitted by my friend Stella Marinazzo (meltemi). But after ten years of fighting an impasse had been reached. But then, the Greeks, following a brilliant idea of Odysseus, constructed a colossal wooden horse, and in retreating from their siege in apparent resignation of the futility of the siege, left the horse as an homage for the Trojans. Hidden inside the hollow horse was a team of select warriors headed by Odysseus.
Waking to the sight of the solitary horse outside their city gates, they were all perplexed. "A deadly fraud is this," declared the priest Laocoön, " devised by the Achaean chiefs!... Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."
And his words might have moved the Trojans to reject the horse, to destroy it outside the city gates. But alas, Godddes Minerva, an ardent supporter of the Greeks, at this moment released a pair of sea serpents to strangle Laocoön and his two sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. This was interpreted by the Trojan leaders as the sign from a benevolent God showing the priests mistake. They dragged the horse inside the city walls, and, in the process, made one of the most famous blunders in history.
The statue of Laocoön is thought to be the masterpiece of three surpassing sculptors on the Island of Rhodes Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus. It was carved between 42-20 BC according to writings discovered at Lindos on Rhodes. The statue is also believed to have adorned the Palace of Tiberius and that of the notorious Emperor Nero in Rome of the First Century BC.
In AD 1506, during the Papacy of the Julius II, the statue (sans the right arm) was unearthed in excavations being carried out at the Palace of Tiberius. It was painstakingly restored, still missing, and even Michelangelo stood in awe of the statue, mesmerized by the power and beauty infused in it by the classic sculptors. A commission of 30 artists was organized to speculate on how the missing arm should be designed, 29 of the sculptors speculated that the missing right arm should have been extended, upwards and to the left. Michelangelo alone argued that it should be corked over his right shoulder. When the missing arm was discovered, four hundred years after the statue itself, it turned out that Michelangelo was right! That is the difference between the "transformative genius" and "ordinary genius." There are still copies around of the statue with the arm configured as the commission had insisted, copies created before 1904.
In 1797 Napoleon Bonaparte demanded the statue as a war debt from the Vatican. He was given a copy, being readied for the anticipated event. Exactly four hundred years after the statue was excavated, in 1906 the right arm was discovered, having leeched minerals from the ground and more discolored than the rest. So, after four hundred years Laocoön was reunited with his arm. That was a century ago. It is regarded as the most famous statue in the Vatican Museum. (Vatican City, including the St. Peter's Basilica, is home to the even more famous statue, Michelangelos Pieta. Thanks, Vinicio!)
On July 12, 2007, while touring the Vatican Museum, I spent the better part of an hour admiring the classic sculpture, long my favorite statue in the world. Crowds were teeming around during the hot summer day, but as the crowds abated intermittently, I had a chance to shoot approximately a dozen shots. The curved column on the right is part of an arch, and is not an optical distortion in the lens. Nikon D-70, 18-70 mm Nikkor lens, UV-filter, ISO set on 200, tripod.
PS The WS performed by my good friend, Mesut Ilgim (mesutilgim) is fabulous. I hope to use this image in my new book, "Leonardo's Universe," (National Geographic 2008) in the context of the Classical artists' influence on the Renaissance Artist..
AROBN54, vinicio, ALIRIZA, meltemi, delic, evanrizo, snunney, jhm, jurarafal, dorte_s_t, wilkinsonsg, carper, hderin, WepWaWet, isabela_sor, TopGeo, paura, gunbud, MLINES, salvator, ls7902, kdialyna, Docarmo, leonorkuhn, ChrisJ, Tue, stego, happypoppeye, Angshu, Didi, Clementi, doubay, Sekhmet73, anes_lc, AiresSantos, pboehringer, jmdaoudal, Wandering_Dan, BWJ, Bruno40 has marked this note useful
Critiques | Translate
AROBN54 (11067) 2007-10-03 21:35
Warm greetings, Bulent!
This is an excellent capture. You have perfect light and contrast to be able to pick up all the great details. Very nice composition, off centered, with the dark background as a foil. And as always, an exceptionally fine and informative note. Warmest regards,
toto (0) 2007-10-03 23:02
Belle photo de cette sculpture très jolies et bien cadrée, beau NB légèrement colorisé, un peu comme ces vieux films que l' on colorise, bel effet de ces couleurstrès douces.Grande netteté et bien ce noir comme fond. Amitiés Thomas
ALIRIZA (16419) 2007-10-03 23:06
Merhaba Bülent Abi,
Yine ışık ve renkleriyle çok hoş ve dolu dolu bir tanıtım fotoğrafı. Ellerine sağlık...
jasmis (57596) 2007-10-03 23:07
Didactic photo with excellent quality. Important note included.
marjan (6277) 2007-10-03 23:20
hi Bulent, this time you show us one wonderful work. I like it and I saw it "in vivo" but on your photo I can see all details I missed than. Good useful explanation and nice cleare shot. Nice frame.
delic (6735) 2007-10-03 23:31
Ideally it is best to shoot these from a distance using a telephoto. Often we don't have that luxury of course. The level of detail on the marble is excellent. Very enjoyable reading in the note. Regards,
meltemi (9782) 2007-10-04 1:10
really awesome in itself, your point of view increases the impact!
The statue looks massive and overwhelming, also captured with good natural colours and fine details. Due to the great crispness the textures of the marble surfaces are expertly rendered. I like the angle you choose. It clearly defines the expression of desperation in the statues' faces. Great colours too and the note breathes extra life in the ensemble.
I appreciated you have mentioned me.
vinicio (23415) 2007-10-04 1:15
Excellent note and very good image of this famous "group", but I think that the Pietà of Michelangelo is more famous than this, anyway you have well done the image and also written good note about, compliments Bulent.
Have a nice day
snunney (67334) 2007-10-04 1:20
An excellent capture of this famous statue. The statue is nicely positioned in the frame and separated from the background. Very good natural tones and fine clarity.
feather (51128) 2007-10-04 1:24
You have captured so well the incredible workmanship and artistry of the ancient statue. It is remarkable, having stood up to all the tribulations of its great age. Excellent work
jhm (122444) 2007-10-04 3:35
How are you, and you manuscript, almost OK, we are beginning of October.
You show us a very nice statue in the out of white marble, also the anotomy is formidable, great artist, also again a great and interesting note as usual.
Greetings from Belgium,
evanrizo (456) 2007-10-04 4:50
Hi Bulent, it comes really superb, we can have all the nice details from this complex.
dorte_s_t (2287) 2007-10-04 5:59
Hi , Bulent .
Excellent shot where the embracing arch and the black background sets out the beauty of this fine sculpture it's colour and details .
Once again your note is very impressive and informative .
I learned about Troy and the Troyan War and the horse when I was in in highschool . One never forgets such a story , but your note once again adds SO much more than I knew . Such a pleasure that you share this with us ! Thank you , Bulent !
Cormac (26545) 2007-10-04 7:22
Thanks for posting this great photo of this masterpiece. When you see this up close you can really get an idea of how amazing the work is, where the marble seems to come to life! You can also see the influence this had on Michelangelo, with the muscular figures and interesting poses. Beautiful!
wilkinsonsg (8662) 2007-10-04 9:06
Good notes to go with a well exposed image - TFS :)
carper (96) 2007-10-04 9:52
a fine piece of history Bulent,
the photo is very good, fine quality with fine shadow parts, very good photojob and the lesson yes your the writer, good piece of trekearth stuff, well done Bulent and have a fine day my friend.
hderin (600) 2007-10-04 16:53
Yine çok güzel bir hediye vermişsiniz bize sanat adına. Harikulade bir çekim ve nefis sunum ile tam bir öğretmensiniz. Elleriniz dert görmeye.
WepWaWet (3780) 2007-10-05 4:00
Merhaba Bulent Bey,
Detaylarin ve isik yonetiminin mukemmel oldugu bir tanitim karesi olmus. Elinize saglik.
isabela_sor (47265) 2007-10-05 9:05
Another shot for my theme...places where I must go!The details of the sculpture were so well captured!!!Thanks for posting this
A nice weekend
TopGeo (37994) 2007-10-05 9:55
Look at your reception and I liked also Bulent, the presentation written and the optical opinion. Completed work and improbably(exhibit) placement of composition, this excellent choice..Compliments Georgios
imago_lux (249) 2007-10-05 13:51
This is a great foto for a book of art. Superb. If the sculptor was alive, I thing he could give you a prize...
Well, don't talk me about crouds in the Vatican Museums...
paura (47166) 2007-10-05 19:47
Very well composed shot. The technical adjustments are nice to show to all us this amazing and famous statue.
Abraços do Brasil
hattori (0) 2007-10-05 21:11
vatikan'da bu heykeli gördüğümde görkemine hayran kalmıştım siz de aynı görkemi karenize taşımışsınız, tebrikler.
notunuz da çok güzel, bu arada dedenizle gurur duyuyor olmalısınız, biz de sizinle gurur duyuyoruz
terez93 (835) 2007-10-05 22:11
Once again, a magnificent shot of a magnificent subject! I think your shot stands out a bit better than mine, because of the dark background. Congrats because this sometimes makes photographing a light subject very difficult, but it's still very sharp and well-defined. I am somewhat jealous that you were able to spend so much time admiring it recently (!); I would very much like to visit again someday. As ever, wonderful photo!
gunbud (34052) 2007-10-05 23:25
Excellent use of light renders wonderful details with clear colors. This work of art jumps right out of the page. Your note is as usual a very interesting history lesson. It is a marvel how intriguing the ancients were and of course the complex artist as well.
Graal (88886) 2007-10-06 1:55
an interesting famous statue, good reportage from Vatican Museum, fine remind of Greek mythology. Well done. I like it.
Bluejeans (64231) 2007-10-06 8:25
Ola amigo ,
Fantastic este trabalho de arte , bons detalhes , gostei muito das cores , bom enquadramento da foto , parabens!!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
salvator (19102) 2007-10-07 1:23
Hello Bulent Bey,
Woow just soooo wonderful the details. The use of light, the color and the sharpness are really impressive.
I wish you and excellent Sunday, best personal regards. Salvator.
ls7902 (7300) 2007-10-07 4:14
A detailed & sharp image of the statue. The dark shadow & arch only unenforced the attention to the statue. As always I enjoy reading your note and also that of Stella Marinazzo with regard to her Achilles' Heel photo. Thank you.
PS: I've made good use of the "transfom" feature of PS in my latest posting the "Innsbruck's Helblinghaus" (a repost). Your note made me try it.
kdialyna (3148) 2007-10-07 9:07
An excellent photo from a statue.
The perfect distance and the very good use of the existing light, gave the best results. The power of the creation is obvious. The rendering of the marble's texture surface is perfect. The dark background make known all the beauty of the statue.
A very good work with the informative note, gave to us all the necessary information for this amazing work of art.
TFS with us Bulent.
Docarmo (9639) 2007-10-07 10:21
Excellent shot of this sculpture - it seems that we were there in front of.
Very instructive note.
Thanks for sharing,
Maria do Carmo
P.S.: I've just read your interesting report of a child born in the Brazilian air :-) Amazing! (on a critique for Leonor photo)
darrasin (2860) 2007-10-07 16:04
Greetings Bulent! Very well done, since the subject is so fabulous itself, your capture has to be flawless or you run the risk of diminishing such a great work of art. You were certainly up to the challenge, as you framed the statue in the archway for great artistic effect. Technically, the sharpness is excellent as it allows us to truly appreciate the details.
Very well done!
leonorkuhn (16229) 2007-10-07 19:21
Really, this sculpture is wonderful. Very nice capture, excellent light, great details, good natural colors. Amazing composition!
ChrisJ (86862) 2007-10-08 5:45
Good graphism of the lighter marble against the darker bg. Excellent sharpness & framing. I read today that some drunken French vandals broke into a museum, & damaged a Monet painting. And the Pieta was damaged by a Hungarian immigrant to Australia from memory. We are very lucky that many of these priceless sculptures are still on public display, all things considered.
Tue (25798) 2007-10-08 13:19
A very good capture of this famous statue. I can remember it well from my visit of the Vatican Museum a couple of years ago. The statue stands out very beautifully in all its splendour against the dark background. Very well done and thanks for sharing!
sothy81 (9526) 2007-10-08 14:36
This is a very beautiful artwork you show here. Very nice capture with great light there. Also very sharp image. I am always impressed by European arts similar to this one you show. To me they love romance which is different from Cambodia. But, you may also have seen "apsara" from Cambodia where they dont wear bras (topless). Kind of complicated why people do that in history.
stego (22556) 2007-10-08 15:20
Another excellent capture of an unique master piece, perfectly framed (I am not talking only about the external frame) and lighted. One can stare at its details for a long time, so great is the definition.
As usual, an highly interesting and insightful note.
happypoppeye (4817) 2007-10-08 19:00
Well, this is a really nice shot Bulent. Perfect exposure resulting in great tones and colors. Really "clear", focused and sharp - nothing to distract the viewer from the main focal point of the sculptors work. Great note and good thin framing to compliment the photo also. I could nitpick things here and there, but it's a good straight on type shot showing some great artwork of the ancient world so I'll leave it as it is...a very good looking piece of art.
jemaflor (68913) 2007-10-09 10:20
Well taken, good effect with this dark background, perfect focus and sharpness, a nice shot.
Didi (48926) 2007-10-09 10:36
Very interesting selective lights on the main subject who contrast well with the dark foreground.
Clementi (52511) 2007-10-09 13:03
you have valued a work less famous than others that find in Vatican this it is job a lot important in order to increase knowledge to the goddesses art treasures. thanks
PJE (20756) 2007-10-09 20:30
I read your comments on this photo earlier and pondered about the similar resemblance of the mystical sub reality of many computer games that many young people spend online these days. To conquer the worlds of conquest and rise to achieve greater levels of achievement in that realm. I have three sons who play the World of Warcraft where over 6 million players join together online for this kind of world domination and conquest.
The sculpture is simply amazing to see here. Thank you for capturing wonderful details in highlights and shadows. Very nice capture Bulent...thanks for sharing!
jmcl (14535) 2007-10-09 22:25
It is a striking statue .. amplified by the way you have used the dark portal behind it .. that adds contrast and a great number of thoughts as the statue seems to emerge from the infinity of the darkness ..
Wonderful image. Great note.
Michael Wood's "In search of the Trojan War" was one of my favorite books when I was a teen ..
thanks for sharing this .. and having the patience to shoot it like this.
Angshu (51174) 2007-10-10 2:29
Hello Professor "A"
An amazing sculpture. You have captured so well the incredible workmanship and artistry of this ancient statue....the muscles, the sinews, the nerves. This sure served as inspiration for Michelangelo, whose sculptures reflect the dynamism & tortuous poises which is the hallmark of so many of his statues. It is really remarkable that this marvellous piece of work has withstood the tumultuous times through the history. Excellent note to accompany the superb work.
With Warmest regards
doubay (2091) 2007-10-10 6:45
Fantastic shot of one of the most legendary sculptures of the world, accompanied by an excellent note. Due to its form, technique, mythological theme, the history of its creation, its journey through time, the placees it stood or rather it stands (Nero´s palace and Vatican) and the impact it had on the art of the renaissance period and after perhaps this sculpture embodies Western civilization like no other artwork.
mesutilgim (67960) 2007-10-10 9:22
Ben ekonomist'im ama, mitoloji her zaman büyük tutkum oldu. Bu kare'n de buram buram mitoloji kokuyor. Mikelanj'ı da etkileyen herhalde mitilojinin müthiş gizemi.
Çok güzel bir kare, harika bir bakış açısı ve güzel bir kompozisyon.
Verdiğin açıklamalar da muhteşem.
Sen pek photoshop kullanmıyorsun bildiğim kadarı ama, ben dayanamadım bir WS yapıp yolluyorum. Sadece sağda gözüken duvar parçasını yokettim. Bakalım beğenecekmisin ?
Selam ve sevgilerle
Sekhmet73 (4143) 2007-10-11 3:22
Michelangelo as sculptor is absolutely my favorite one, together with Canova. Believe me or not, the first time I saw the "Pity", I stopped in front of it for at least 5 minutes. Everything here is so strong, real, full of life and pain...
anes_lc (14968) 2007-10-11 5:30
if the picture impress me so much i wander what i feel if i see it by real
thank you dear Bulent for share such masterpiece with us.and thank you also for the usefull note
great shot well framed and good management of light
setenay (7654) 2007-10-11 6:18
Merhaba Bülent Bey,
Arka fonun siyah oluşu ile detayların çok daha net be belirgin görüldüğü o kadar güzel çekim ki görmüş kadar oldum bu şaheseri.Tanıtım notunuz da dosta düşmana karşı çok iyi anlatım olmuş.Tebrik ederim.Oralarda Bayramları kutlayabiliyormusunuz.En iyi dileklerimle Ramazan Bayramınızı kutluyorum.Selam ve saygılarımla
AiresSantos (56155) 2007-10-11 8:05
More 2 point for reach the 100 beacause this is a great composition.
Very nice esculpture od the MichelAngelo, excellent POV and details
High quality and well framed
TFS and greetings
MLINES (12516) 2007-10-12 22:23
Hi Bulent. A fine clear capture of this famous marble statue. Your notes add a gratt deal to the understanding of history for those of us without the depth you offer. A wonderful series. TFS. Murray.
Just read the remark about Charleston Heston look alike, and agree with this comment. Your stories are a mental treat!
Polonaise (5796) 2007-10-13 4:31
Allow me to start another hundred of points for this photo, master Atalay.
Oh, forget it.
I just touched this masterpiece (some twenty years ago) lovingly with my plebeian fingers, and try to close somehow my dropped, wide open mouth...(it wasn't easy, trust me).
However: What Helen of Troy (aka: J.Offenbach' one) and one thousand ship armada has to do with Laocoön - beats me.
But your story, known to us since the movie 'Troy' hit the big screens and the guy by the name Brad Pitt - beat the living crap out of everyone around him - is still captivating mercilessly our imagination.
(This Homer guy...?
He took his name from one of our very best on TE, and I'm not quite sure if Peter Kozikowski was even notified about it..???)
Famous statues in Vatican ?
Moses is my favorite guy...
A bit unshaven, still...Almost as handsome as the original...Charlton Heston !
The world of TE wouldn't be the same without your stories, your informative pictures, without your charisma...
Please, reign among us...
Stay vibrant as usual
pboehringer (770) 2007-10-14 14:26
a perfect note with the post of one of the best statues ever. Yes, it can be quite difficult to get the right angle and emptiness in the Vatican to get the perfect shot. I had a very similar urge ot do some PP that resulted in the WS. So, I would say that your post is what we see in the museum and the WS is the elaborated shot for placing it in a book.
jmdaoudal (82) 2007-10-15 23:51
You are a specialist and "fan" of Michelangelo, and this can be seen here with the care to offer the statue. Well sat on its basis, and with the quality given by the artist in the care he had to showw a whole balanced group.
The phoot is good of course and from a high quality by the colors and stone textures, and it is a proper shot where the other artist ( this one you catch the group) is valued and given in his intentions.
We receive it as a very sensual communication with the Epic side I like very much.
yupp51 (46) 2008-01-01 14:41
ne diyim baba gibi bir calısma olmus... aslında bu guzel heykeli yapanı tebrik etmek lazim...mukemmbel eserin fotosu da mukembel olur...
BWJ (3022) 2008-06-15 17:32
Sharp details and 'true to life' colors are superb in this picture. Your POV could not be better. Very nice choice for the framing; it enhances the beauty of the picture nicely. Information in the detaied note is excellent. Magnificent work!
- Copyright: Bulent Atalay (batalay) (32860)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2007-07-12
- Categories: Artwork
- Camera: Nikon D-70, 18-70mm DX Zoom Nikkor, 67mm UV haze
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): My dream places..., Twins? [Part XXV] [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-10-03 19:50
- Favorites: 1 [view]