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The Sistine Chapel: An Inside Look Before Your Visit

Uncover the history and meaning behind the most famous art of the Renaissance
Preview Lecture
Watch on your schedule, you will receive a link to watch the lecture online immedately upon purchase.
1 hour
Product Type
Sistine Chapel
Lecture Details
Photos & Highlights
  • Presented by the same world-class experts as our walking tours, Context Lectures highlight must-see attractions, reveal hidden landmarks, and explore the best things to do during your trip so you don’t miss a thing.
Lecture Description
“The frescoes that we are contemplating here introduce us into the world of the contents of the Revelation. The truths of our faith speak to us here from all sides. From them human genius took its inspiration undertaking to clothe them in forms of incomparable beauty." In his homily said during the Holy Mass celebrated on April 1994 in the Sistine chapel, for the completion of the restoration of the Last Judgement, the Holy Father John Paul II pronounced these words. He underscored how sacredness and beauty are deeply tied, in a place which is not only the focus of the Vatican Palaces, but mainly the very sacred heart of the Papacy. Here since the late Middle Ages, the popes still hold private masses to the most important people of the Church and of the world, and here the popes are also elected, in continuity with St. Peter’s role.
Meet Your Expert

Sara is an art historian with doctoral degrees in Medieval and Modern Art History and Classical Antiquities. She is the author of a book, published by the Accademia dei Lincei, on the antiquities collection of Pope Julius II and has written various articles in important scholarly journals on the history of Renaissance and Baroque collections. More recently, she had published a book on some of the most famous paintings of Caravaggio in Rome which introduces a new interpretation of the works, based on philological data, and which is changing the way we look at this artist. For many years, she has combined her philological research with her work as a university instructor, museum educator and professional tourist guide.

Thought as a book formed by images, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel serve to engage the viewers into a deeper understanding of the liturgy, of the truth and symbolism of faith, but also of the timeless and universal mystery of the origins and history of humanity. A book whose pages are open in front of the enraptured eyes of visitors, where the genius and the talent of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Perugino and other masters of the Renaissance could express their best, following the guidelines of the popes, their scholars and theologians.

Led by art historian, professor, and long-term collaborator of the Vatican Museums, Sara Magister, this lecture will guide visitors through a deep understanding of the connections between art, genius, symbolism, function, history and context, of the visual and spiritual narrative of the frescoes, made and designed for one of the most astonishing temples of beauty and meaning in the world. Sara has published a book on Pope Julius II, and various articles in important scholarly journals. Her most recent book on Caravaggio introduced a new interpretation of his works, which has changed the way we look at this artist.
How do I access the lecture?
Once you complete your purchase, you will receive an email with a link to stream the lecture on the Context Travel website. You can also access your past purchases anytime under My Orders. Please ensure you are logged into your account to open the streaming page. 

Is closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) available?
Yes! All of our lectures have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

How long does each event last?
Our recorded lectures typically run for 60 minutes.

How can I share this lecture with friends or family?
You are welcome to watch together with friends or family but each person viewing on their own device will need to purchase the lecture individually.

How long does my access to the lecture last?
Once you purchase a lecture, you are welcome to view it as many times as you like and your access does not expire.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Sales for recorded lectures are final upon purchase. Please contact us at digital@contexttravel.com if you have any questions or concerns about your purchase.

Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.
(5.0) 4 Reviews

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This lecture was so helpful. Sara did a great job and I can’t imagine visiting the Sistine Chapel without viewing this lecture beforehand. Thank you Sara!
This talk was a fascinating look at the stunning Sistine Chapel! Even though I knew the basics about the art here, I learned so much about the history and secrets behind this incredible space. I highly recommend watching this before visiting the Vatican.