Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, Vatican.
So...here's the thing.
I feel like it's kind of important--if not just plain American--to know why a rule exists. Which is why I blatantly ignored the NO FOTO signs in Italian museums.
Don't get me wrong--I am not some renegade who makes questioning authority a hobby or regularly practices lawbreaking. I'm not trying to make any sort of blanket statement or stick it to The Man here. I am generally a law-abider and rule-obliger. But...I just have never been given a good enough reason not to take pictures (especially sans flash) in museums. As an art history major, I like to think my reverence for invaluable masterpieces is superior to the average Joe Tourist's, but even I am not convinced of the whole "flash damages the paintings" or "it's for copyright reasons" nonsense. Don't they (the vague, accusatory "they"...) understand how much self-control I am already exercising by not touching anything?
I believe the real reason we are not allowed to take photos in many museums is because they want us to buy photos--in the form of books, postcards, mugs, toilet paper--in the gift shop. Which I do anyway. The problem is that you can't put those on facebook or make slideshows with them. Plus, I am the ultimate consumer of museum store crap. Mona Lisa nightlight? Check. Monet umbrella? Got one. My faithful patronage of the art world should garner some privileges.
Primavera by Boticelli, the Uffizi in Florence.
The Birth of Venus by Boticelli, the Uffizi in Florence.
Enough complaining. I actually just wanted to share my forbidden photos with you. These are some photos of the great masterpieces of the world that you are not allowed to take photos of...seriously. I have seen people police-escorted out of the Sistine Chapel for taking pics. I have been sternly yelled at for snapping pictures when I shouldn't have. The stakes were high, my friends...these took skill. Strategy. Timing. Human shields.
I just hope the Italian government doesn't read my blog...