The Vatican Is Defending Itself After Critics Blasted Celebrity Visitors for Getting Special Treatment at the Sistine Chapel

  • 3 min read
  • Aug 05, 2022

The Vatican Is Defending Itself After Critics Blasted Celebrity Visitors for Getting Special Treatment at the Sistine Chapel

Two big celebrities have come under fire this year for bragging online about getting private tours of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel.

Many commentators, who endured long lines and huge crowds to see Rome’s greatest masterpieces, were clearly not impressed by the special treatment.

The Vatican has now revealed to Artnet News that the celebrity posts are part of a “reciprocal exchange” strategy to boost museum engagement on social media.

After visiting the church in May with friends and crew members, Jason Momoa shared his experience with his 17.1 million Instagram followers. The post included group photos in front of Michelangelo The last judgmenta video of the ceiling zooming in on it creation of mana video taken on a small private terrace and another in which he fondles a marble bas-relief.

“I must say that I am very disappointed in this. I guess money can buy everything. Shame on you for disrespecting this holy place.

“If you ever felt that I disrespected your culture, it wasn’t my intention,” Momoa said in an apology video released a few days later. “I definitely paid to have that private moment and give the church a good donation,” he added.

A Vatican spokesperson told ArtNet News that the VIP visits are part of a “reciprocal exchange.”

“We provide them with a special experience when the museums are closed and they in turn share their experience on their social media platforms,” ​​he said.

He added: “These public figures have the ability to advertise and advertise quickly and effectively simply by using their social media. People emulate what they do and most importantly, through them we can reach a younger audience that has often, in the past, been ‘away’ from our collections.”

The idea began during the Covid-19 quarantine, when the Vatican Museums decided to target a new audience and help them experience the museum’s treasures from home. ArtNet News was told that as a result of the campaign, 38 percent of Vatican residents are now between the ages of 18 and 25.

gladiator The Russell Crowe star was hardly shy about sharing details of his July trip to the Vatican on Twitter with his 2.9 million audience.

“I’m not sure there is a more special privilege in the world than to hold the key to the Sistine Chapel and experience its glory in silence,” he wrote.

“We were allowed access to rooms, views and parts of the complex that you wouldn’t get to see as a regular tourist,” added Crowe, sharing more perks he and his family enjoyed.

A Vatican spokesman confirmed that in order to “collect more content to share”, special guests were given access to the terrace, which is normally closed for the exclusive use of museum management.

Celebrity posts have also caused quite a stir as photography is usually not allowed inside the church.

So why does the church privilege the rich and famous? [sic] wrote one angry commenter on Crowe’s post. “It doesn’t matter at all if you take pictures.”

Visitors line up outside the Vatican Museums. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images.

A Vatican spokesman confirmed that taking pictures of the Sistine Chapel is prohibited. They did not confirm the celebrity exemption, but noted: “Sometimes someone manages to take a photo despite the ban.”

The ban dates back to the 1980s, after the Nippon Corporation agreed to finance a major renovation of the church in exchange for exclusive rights to photograph and record videos. This copyright agreement expired in 2019.

Members of the public willing to pay more can purchase unique Vatican experiences, including private tours and even the opportunity to walk through the museums on their own.

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