A Mirror to the Past: Michelangelo’s Source of Inspiration

Encountering art is always a rewarding experience. Whether you see it in a famous art gallery, a museum or on the catwalk, art never fails to touch the spirit – if you are prepared to really open yourself to it, that is. But when you have the chance to see it in Nero’s Golden House, the feeling is indescribable.

It is not because Nero is such a famous historic figure and it is not because Domus Aurea (Golden House) is an important vestige of the past. It simply is because here you discover once again that king Solomon was right when he said “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”. Nero’s house was the main source of inspiration for some of the greatest artists of all times. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and many others have been awed by it and this is greatly reflected in their works.

Take the spectacular Sistine Chapel for instance. There is nothing there that cannot be associated with the art of the year 60 when Nero was emperor in Rome. If you visit the Vatican and then go straight to the Domus Aurea, you might be having troubles with figuring out where you are. The white walls decorated with painted “medallions” and “canvases” were first present in Nero’s party villa (the first such villa ever), and so were many of the other elements that can be seen in the famous Museums of Vatican.

It is well known the fact that Renaissance means “rebirth” and it was a cultural movement which tried to bring back to life the unparalleled art of the Ancient Rome and Greece. But when you actually have the chance to see the similitude between the two eras engraved and painted on stone, you can’t help but feel so small compared to time. Think about it: Michelangelo and Rafael crawled underground to study the Domus Aurea and now we stay in long queues to have the chance to admire their works in Vatican. Sooner or later we all leave this world, and art is one thing that will show our descendants just how long people have been living on this earth.