Aug 31, 2011

Vatican City (B178)

Scenes from the View-Master packet Vatican City (B 178) from the Nations of the World Series.


View-Master Vatican City (B178), Packet Cover

Packet cover


View-Master Vatican City (B178), Booklet Cover

Booklet cover


From the 16-page booklet:


Our View-Master Guided Picture Tour of Vatican City is a journey into a miniature world of amazing beauty and delightful contrasts. And from this tiny, hilltop world on the west bank of the Tiber River, the Pope directs the spiritual affairs of the nearly half billion people of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican is the sole remnant of the papal states which at one time included large areas of Italy and part of southern France. It was created in 1929 by the Treaty of the Lateran through the combined efforts of Pope Pius XI and Benito Mussolini, but its religious significance began 2000 years earlier when the Apostle Peter was crucified in Rome and Emperor Constantine built the first church over his tomb. In 1626 the present church was consecrated by Pope Julius II.


Scene 1

St. Peter’s Basilica

View-Master Vatican City (B178), Scene 1: St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica


From the 16-page booklet:


Our first view of the Vatican is of St. Peter’s and the piazza, or square. The inspiration for the gigantic piazza came from the original sketch by Giovanni Bernini (about 1650). It represents the Universal Church with arms outstretched in loving welcome to all men. The head coincides with the dome of the church.

In the center of the square is an obelisk, and on each side a fountain. Emperor Caligula brought the 135-foot-high, 312-ton obelisk from Egypt in A.D. 39. It once stood in Nero’s circus and at its base St. Peter was crucified.


Scene 4

Pontifical Mass

View-Master Vatican City (B178), Scene 4: Pontifical Mass

Pontifical Mass Honoring Pope Pius X


From the 16-page booklet:


The pageantry of Church ceremonies such as this canonization ceremony, is made even more impressive by the rich interior of St. Peter’s with its mosaics of rare, colored marbles and enamels, and other great works of art. Yet, despite the grandeur, there is a feeling of humbleness in its churchmen and this humbleness is evident in the face of the new pontiff.

Giovanni Battista Cardinal Montini was elected supreme pontiff on June 22, 1963, by 80 members of the College of Cardinals. The 65-year-old Italian became Paul VI, the 262nd pope. His election was construed to mean a continuation of the precedent-setting policies of John XXIII, the “Pope of unity and peace,” who died June 2, 1963, at the age of 81.


Scene 6

Papal Throne

View-Master Vatican City (B178), Scene 6: Papal Throne

Pope’s throne is below St. Peter’s original throne


From the 16-page booklet:


Seated on the tribune, looking down the nave to the apse, the Pope, in a breath-taking ceremony, is enthroned as head of the Roman Catholic world. Kneeling beside him are assisting prelates, and on his right stands the Master of Ceremonies who is responsible for all the details.

Above him, sealed inside the great bronze throne, is the original chair where St. Peter sat as the first pope. Four bronze saints, each 14 feet high, are on either side.


Scene 13

Sistine Chapel Fresco

View-Master Vatican City (B178), Scene 13: Sistine Chapel Fresco

Michelangelo's “Creation of Man” on ceiling of Sistine Chapel


From the 16-page booklet:


This is the Pope’s private chapel and it is used for important Papal ceremonies such as Papal elections. It was named after Pope Sixtus IV, who began it in 1473.

The upper walls are ornamented with the works of Botticelli, Perugino, and other lesser artists, but that which gives it its greatest artistic value is the work of Michelangelo. On the end wall is his magnificent fresco of “The Last Judgment,” and the ceiling is covered with his splendid pictorial representations of Old Testament scenes.

Of his five years of labor lying on his back on a scaffold he wrote: “False and quaint I know must be the fruit of squinting eye and brain.” Yet this work is said to be the most important piece of mural painting in the modern world and he, Christianity’s greatest religious painter.



Raphael’s “Transfiguration”

View-Master Vatican City (B178), Scene 15: Raphael's Transfiguration

“Transfiguration” by Raphael in Vatican museum


From the 16-page booklet:


Upon entering the Museum, miles of long, sunlit galleries greet our eye. These were built to house the accumulation of four centuries of art treasures. Only the Louvre in Paris rivals the Vatican in the breadth and wealth of its collections. Of this great assemblage, the two most prized works are the “Pieta” and Raphael’s “Transfiguration.” This was the last of Raphael's masterpieces and, after his death, it was finished by one of his pupils.

Among the Vatican’s most venerated possessions is the “Crux Vatican.” It is the oldest and most precious, for it contains fragments which are believed to be from the cross on which Christ was crucified. The casket was a gift from Byzantine Empress Sofia who vowed to present it to the Church if her husband recovered from an illness.


Scene 19

Emperor Augustus Statue


The Emperor Augustus statue—a Greco-Roman sculpture


From the 16-page booklet:


This portrait of the Emperor Augustus is the best existing statue of the “master of the world.” It was found in 1863 at the Villa Livia, and is perhaps the finest sculpture of the Greco-Roman period. It represents the Emperor delivering a speech to the army. The cuirass is covered with bas-reliefs, which are a marvel of art. It contains traces of pigment. Classical sculptures were often colored.