The Art of Rome and Lisbon

Walking through museums in unfamiliar cities and countries can give you a glimpse into its history and culture. I visited a different museum almost everyday when I was in Rome and Lisbon and yet there were so many that I didn’t see. Museums are where I spent most of my time, but I don’t feel that I adequately appreciated them. There is such beauty in the relics of our past.

Vatican Museum:

The Vatican Museum requires a fun walk. After St. Peter’s Basilica, I walked toward the Vatican Museum. To get there, you have to walk around Vatican City, which is a fortified village with stone walls. On the walk you will most likely be distracted by countless vendors and street performers, but I didn’t stop as I was focused on my destination.

The Vatican Museum is large and you would be wise to follow a map to get around to different sections. However, I tend to wander around in museums, so the map remained in my hand until I realized that I had walked through the same section twice. The first photo is taken during one of the times I got stuck behind a tourist group from China. There were probably at least 20-25 people in this group, which made it practically impossible to get through them without causing a big distraction as their guide is talking.

I couldn’t understand the language their guide was speaking, but I ended up standing there silently listening. The guide was most likely explaining the history of a painting, but there are so many things that a painting can say that doesn’t require an explanation. I contemplated this for a few moments. Then, finally, at last! A spot opened up to get through and I took it!

Here are some of the pieces of art:

“Jan III Sobieski Sending Message of Victory to the Pope, after the Battle of Vienna” by Jan Matejko in Vatican Museum.
“Sphere Within Sphere” by Arnaldo Pomodoro at Vatican Museum.


Unknown at Vatican Museum. So much symbolism in this piece.
“La danse macabre” Gino Severini


Contemporary Art Museum of Belem:

Even though Rome has an incredible history in art, I have to admit that Lisbon was my favorite place for art. Lisbon contains a very controversial art museum in the Belem district, the Contemporary Art Museum of Belem. Expect to see a lot “living” art. This art contained live sounds and video. I particularly remember one piece of live art that contained audio of a lady screaming along with some disturbing imagery. A fairly famous piece of art is two dummies hanging with nooses around their necks. In the U.S., this would definitely be an 18 and over museum. The photos I attached are of the tamed art, but I think are interesting nonetheless.

“Consumo Feliz” at Contemporary Art Museum of Belem.
“White Aphrodisiac Telephone” Salvador Dali


National Museum of Ancient Art:

The National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon was interesting and contained a lot of well-known art. Most people take the tram here because it is a bit of a walk from the city center. I actually got lost on my way there due to my confusion in reading the map. It doesn’t stand out like a lot of popular sites do and kind of just appears as you are walking down a narrow street. But don’t hurry off once you are done in the museum. There is a very pretty courtyard out the back and then as you leave the museum there is a beautiful view to the water followed by a unique stairway down to the main road.



I’ve always loved museums. They make me feel calm and peaceful. I think it has something to do with being surrounded by so much history. These things were created by people who have not been living for centuries, but yet a piece of them was projected into the future to stand before me at this very moment. Will anybody ever look at this painting in exactly the same way I am now? No, probably not. The painting itself remains the same, but in each person’s memory it is different.

4 thoughts on “The Art of Rome and Lisbon

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