Artistic Masterpieces
 Top 10 Features of Artistic of Masterpieces

Caravaggio's Deposition
Click to enlargeCaravaggio strove outdo Michelangelo's Pietà by making his Mary old and tired. Rather than a slender slip of a christ, Caravaggio's musucular Jesus is so heavy (emphasized by a dragonal composition) that Nicudemus struggles with his lages and John's grasp opens Christ wound.

Raphael's Transfiguration
Click to enlargeRaphael's towering masterpiece and his final work was found, almost finished, in his studio when he died. It is the pinnacle of his talent as a synthesist, mixing Perugino's clarity, Michelangelo's colour palette and twisting figures, and Leonardo's composition.

Michelangelo's Pietà
Click to enlargeThe Renaissance is known for naturalism, but Michelangelo warped this for artistic effect. Here Mary is too young, her dead son, achingly thin and small, laid acroos her voluminous lap. Hearing the work being attributed to better known sculptors, the artist crept into the chapel of St Piter's one night and carved his name in the band across the virgin's chest.

Raphael's School of Athens
click to enlargeArchitect Giuseppe Valadier expanded this site of festivals and public excutions into an elegant piazza in 1811 - 23, adding four Egyptian-style lion fountains to the base of one of Rome's oldest obelisks. The 1200 BC Ramases ll monolith was moved to the Circus Maximas by Augustus then placed here by Pope Sixtus V.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
click to enlargeAlthough he considered himself a sculptour first, Michelangelo managed to his turn this almost flat ceiling into a soaring vault peopled with Old Testament prophet and ignudi (nude men). He did a virtually alone, firing all of his assistants save one to help him grind pigments.

Bernini's Apollo and Daphne
Click to enlargeRarely has marble captured flowing, almost liquid movement so gracefully. Bernini freezes time, wind-blown hair and cloak, in the instant the fleeing nymph is wrapped in bark and leaves, transformed into a laurel by her sympathetic river god father.

Caravaggio's Calling of St Matthew
Click to enlargeCaravaggio uses strong chiaro-scuro techniques here. As a naturalistic shaft of light spills from Christ to his chosen chronicler, St Matthew, Caravaggio captures the precise moment of Matthew's conversion from tax collector to Evangelist.

Leonardo da Vinci's St Jerome
Click to enlargeBarely scetched out, yet compelling for its anatomical precision and compositional exprimentation. Jeromw forms a spiral that starts in the mountains, runs across the cave entrance and lion's curve, up the saint's outstretched right arm, then wraps along his left arm and hand into the centre.

Michelangelo's Moses
Click to enlargeThis wall monument is a pale shadow of the elaborate tomb for Julius ll that Michelangelo first envisaged and for which he carved this figure. Some claim there is a self portraithidden in the flowing beard. Moses is currently undergoing a long restoration but remains visible.

Bernini's Ecstasy of St Teresa
Click to enlargeThe saint here is being pierced by a smirking angel's lance, and is Bernini at his theatrical best. He sets this religious ecstasy on a stage flanked by opera boxes from which members of the commissioning Cornaro family look on