Monday, September 21, 2009



The history of the tanks collection is the history of the Armored Forces of the Red/ Soviet/ Russian Army.

During World War II the USSR received American & British tanks under Lend-Lease. The bulk of foreign tanks in the collection was captured during World War II. Others were obtained by exchange with the British Armor Museum or were given by Soviet allies and clients from items they captured in Viet-Nam, Korea, Cuba, Middle East Wars, etc.

There are 129 Russian items including many prototype models of vehicles that were not produced in quantity.


Long time the owner of this tank collection was the special secret soviet military Institution (Laboratory) specializing for the testing any kind of tanks.

The museum was opened September 10-th 1978.

Now the Museum of Armored Vehicles and Equipment has one of the largest collections of armored vehicles in the world. Vehicles from 11 foreign countries are represented. The 290 items range from 3-5 ton light tanks and armored cars to a super-heavy, 180 ton monster. There are 40 self-propelled guns from 57 to 600 caliber, 30 armored cars, 10 reconnaissance and command vehicles, and a variety of technical and engineer support vehicles.

In 2000 year the old vehicles were re-painted in original manner by the Russian specialists of the historical society. Now tanks look like in their historical period.


The T-34 is often used as a symbol for Soviet resistance and German arrogance. As such, its actual performance and impact on the war is often overrated. Nevertheless, the appearance of the T34 definitely was an unpleasant surprise for the German commanders, as it could combat all 1942 German tanks effectively. It was faster, had better armament (50mm was the predominant calibre of German tanks guns) and better armour protection, due to the technical innovation of sloped armour.

However, direct tank to tank combat was a rather rare occurrence; the vast majority of losses suffered were from logistical and mechanical troubles (50% of Soviet tanks at the start of the German invasion), artillery and air strikes and (self-propelled) anti-tank guns. At the outset of the war, only about 10% of all Soviet tanks were T-34 variants, this number increased to 50-60% percent till mid-1943. By the time the T-34 had replaced older models and became available in greater numbers, new German tanks (including the improved German design based on the T-34, the Panzer-V 'Panther') outperformed it.

Still, the T-34 was an adequate and effective tank and played a big part in the defeat of the German invaders.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, located at 1721 S. Mason Rd., in beautiful Queeny Park, West St. Louis County, Missouri, is home to the world's finest collection of art devoted to the dog. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility, which includes historic Jarville House (1853), displays over 500 original paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures in bronze and porcelain, and a variety of decorative arts objects depicting man's best friend throughout the age. On permanent display is Sir Edwin Landseer's oil on canvas of a Deerhound and Recumbent Foxhound and many Maud Earl portraits of various terrier breeds.

The Museum is open year-round and available to visitors Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM - 4 PM, and Sundays 1 PM - 5 PM (closed Mondays and holidays). Queeny Park, home of the Museum, is accessible from highway/interstate 40/64 at the Mason Rd. exit or from I-270 by taking the Manchester exit to Mason Rd.

The Museum Gift Shop offers a wide array of gift items for you and your companion pet including tapestry pillows, ceramic and jeweled dog dishes, books on dogs, umbrellas, stationary, T-shirts, and jewelry, as well as one of a kind objects exclusive to The Dog Museum.

A book and video library is available by appointment for research on purebred dogs and animal artists.

The Museum also offers indoor and outdoor rental space for business meetings, dog club activities, and special events.

How It All Began

The genesis of The Dog Museum was a meeting held in 1971 by members of the Westminster Kennel Club. It was their intention, besides presenting the pre-eminent dog show in the country, to "improve the life of the dog through humane education, to gather and add knowledge on the care and history of the dog, and to develop and support a museum of art and books focusing on the dog." From this initial resolution, a group of interested people, members of the Westminster club, their wives and other interested parties formed the Westminster Kennel Club Foundation to pursue these aims.

In 1973 the foundation conducted a survey to see the level of support for such a project. The results were encouraging and a brochure sent out to solicit funds brought in some financial donations as well as gifts of art and books. Invitations were sent out by the Westminster Kennel Club in February 1979 to a meeting of a diverse group of dog fanciers at which it was decided that an affiliation was needed with an organization with broader contacts. The American Kennel Club was the most fitting solution. The following June, the AKC established the American Kennel Club Foundation. Its specific goal was to set up a museum and library of the dog. The next step was the selection of a director for the museum and in May 1981 William Secord started work as the first director of what was then known as The Dog Museum of America. The AKC had space available at their headquarters in the New York Life Building at 51 Madison Avenue in New York, into which the fledgling museum promptly moved. The first exhibit opened on 8 February 1982; it was entitled "The Museum Collects." An elegant party was held to commemorate the event. The museum officially opened to the public on 15 September 1982 with an exhibition called "Best of Friends: The Dog and Art."

From the beginning, dog-related corporations have been most generous to the museum. A gift from the Gaines Dog Research Center formed the core of the museum library. The active participation of Hill's Pet Products started in 1983 when they underwrote an exhibition called 'The Dog Observed." lams has sponsored exhibitions, Ralston Purina and Pedigree/KalKan have endowed galleries in the museum and provided other services and funds as well. J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. has provided equipment and grants. The Westminster Foundation has continued their generous support. By 1985 it was apparent that The Dog Museum was outgrowing its loaned space at 51 Madison Avenue. It seemed a good time to become a separate entity and search for a location elsewhere. Five cities (Denver; Los Angeles; Pebble Hill, Georgia; Orlando; and St. Louis) invited the consideration of the board of directors. The board, chaired by Mrs. Robert V. Lindsay and the president of the museum, Mrs. Dorothy Welsh, voted to move to St. Louis in September of 1986. By November of 1987 the move had been completed into Jarville House, the charming Monsanto Greek Revival house in the 570-acre Queeny Park outside St. Louis. An addition to the museum increasing the total space to 14,000 sq. feet was opened in the spring of 1991. The carriage house adjacent to Jarville House was transformed into a museum shop which overlooks the Charing Cross Courtyard, the gift of Mr. Gilbert S. Kahn. The museum addition provided the museum with four more galleries and a very large community room used by local dog clubs, civic groups and individuals.

Again, generous financial support was forthcoming to help in the construction of this fine facility from the County of St. Louis, private individuals and corporations as well as the museum's original supporter, the Westminster Kennel Club.

By 1995 it became clear to the board of directors that while the museum's collection of art was increasing in both volume and value, the financial support was not keeping pace. A re-affiliation with the AKC was completed in October of 1995 and the official name of the museum became The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Have you ever heard about Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame. No? But there is one located in Tampere, the second large town of Finland.

The Museum exhibition rooms at the Hakametsä Ice Arena in 2000. Photo: Carlos Salinas Bascur. Tampere Museums.

The Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame is one of the six museums in the world that have specialized in the history of the ice hockey. The museum holds more than 10,000 hockey-related objects in its collections.

The vigorous journey of the Finnish ice hockey from the end of the 1920's up to today is introduced in the permanent exhibition of the Museum. The best-known exhibition objects are the Finnish Championship Trophy, the 'Canada Trophy', and the World Championship Trophy from 1995.

The Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame has its foundations in the 50th anniversary of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association in 1979. In honour of the anniversary, a local bank in Tampere region (Tampereen Aluesäästöpankki) arranged a historical hockey exhibition in its premises.

The exhibition was a tremendous success and later the same year Mr. Aarne Honkavaara, Mr. Kalervo Kummola, Mr. Kimmo Leinonen, Mr. Harry Lindblad, Mr. Juhani Linkosuo and Mr. Usko Teromaa founded the association called Suomen Jääkiekkomuseoyhdistys ry. ('Finnish Ice Hockey Museum Association').

The Stanley Cup winner Ville Nieminen meets Aarne Honkavaara, the Honorary President of the Finnish Ice Hockey Museum Association, at the opening ceremony of the new Museum exhibition rooms in September 2001. Photo: Carlos Salinas Bascur. Tampere Museums.

Ms. Pirkko Linkosuo who acted as the secretary of the Association was the first one to collect objects for the museum. She started this activity by contacting the players of the Finnish League of the 1930's. Suitable exhibition rooms were found at the Tampere Ice Arena and the Museum was opened for public on the 13th of December in 1979.

Mr. Aarne Honkavaara, who has been awarded the title of Honorary Sports Counsellor, worked as the Museum Attendant at the Ice Arena for almost 20 years. Together with his wife Maire, he took care of the routine matters of the Museum and presented the exhibition to thousands of visitors annually. A visitor record was made in 1996 as more than 12,000 people visited the museum.

Goalie masks from the 1960's. Photo: Carlos Salinas Bascur. Tampere Museums.

The exhibition room at the Tampere Ice Arena was closed for public in the end of 2000and the new permanent exhibition was opened in Museum Centre Vapriikki in April 2001

The permanent exhibition of the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame presents the history of the Finnish ice hockey from the 1920's to the present. Jerseys, sticks and other equipment from different decades tell their own story about the development of hockey. The absolute gem of the exhibition is the original Finnish Championship Trophy, the Canada Cup, yearly awarded to the Finnish champions since 1951.

The exhibition objects and video clips bring many memorable moments of the Finnish hockey back to the visitor's mind. Also all championship medals won by Team Finland as well as the World Championship Trophy from 1995 are on display in the Museum.

The exhibition room also introduces a scoring simulator.

Finnish team in Oslo in 1952. Top row from left: Lauri Silvan, Esko Rekomaa, Christian Rapp, Erkki Hytönen, Matti Karumaa, Aarne Honkavaara, Yrjö Hakala, Keijo Kuusela and Eero Saari. Bottom row from left: Jukka Wuolio, Pentti Isotalo, Eero Salisma, Unto Wiitala, Pekka Myllylä, Ossi Kauppi, Matti Rintakoski and Kauko Mäkinen. Photo: Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame preserves, studies and introduces material related to ice hockey. It has a collection of more than 10,000 objects of which the original Canada Cup (Finnish championship trophy) and the World Championship Trophy of 1995 are the best-known to the public. All Championship medals won by Team Finland can also be found in the Museum.

Photo by NIKALE1

The Museum's jersey collection includes over 500 jerseys. The permanent exhibition introduces you for example Stanley Cup winner Ville Nieminen's away games jersey that he wore in the NHL finals in 2001 as he played with the Colorado Avalanche. Pekka Rautakallio's NHL All Stars Game jersey from 1982 is also on display. A wide collection of jerseys worn by Team Finland starting from the year 1948 can also be found.

The Museum receives the objects mainly through donations. Admission costs are -Adults: 7 €, Children 7 to 16 and students: 2 €, Children under 7: Free of charge

I hope you have enjoyed this trip. For me, I was glad to find Carl Brewer, Gustav Bubnik and Curt Lindstrom (all at coaches department) as members of Finnish Hall of Fame among all Suomi guys.

Sunday, August 23, 2009



In 2006 the Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg) Regional Museum, Russia has opened a museum in memory of the last Russia czar Nikolai the II, his family and Romanov dynasty. The permanent exhibition features documents and exhibits related to life and death of the last Russian Emperor Nikolai the II and his family.

The exposition with its unique documents unveils the murder of the tsar`s family and the circumstances surrounding this crime.

Visitors can also learn here about the history of the exploration of the development of the Ural region during the reign of the Romanov dynasty.

The initiator of the museum is Alexander Avdonin, the head of the foundation Obreteniye (“Discovery”). It was he with his friends who found the remains of the Emperor`s family in Ganina Yama (Ganina Pit) in 1978. Later Alexander Avdonin went on with his research about life and death of the last Russian Emperor and provided part of the displays of the new museum.


When it was decided to imprison the Romanov family in Ekaterinburg, the Bolsheviks chose a house located in the historical center of the city on Voznessenski Street to be used as a jail : Ipatiev house, after its owner's name, Nicholas Ipatiev. This man lived here with his family on the first floor of the house and used the ground floor rooms of his house as offices to his metallurgy business. It was a spacious (18 by 31 square meters), modern, and comfortable house with electricity, a telephone, and even a bathroom and lavatory. The house also had a terrace and a little garden with some trees and bushes like poplar, birch, and lime.

The house was built on ground with a double slope and part of the ground floor rooms on Voznessenski Street were almost in the basement.

The house was built in 1897 by a man named Andrei Redikortsev, who was an engineer in the iron mines. But Andrei Redikortsev was involved in corruption cases and was forced to sell his house to another man, IG Charaviev. This man also worked in platinum mines in the west of the Urals. Later, in 1908, IG Charaviev sold the house to Nicholas Ipatiev for 6000 rubles.


Ten years later, on Saturday, the 27th of April, the Bolsheviks asked Nicholas Ipatiev to leave his house with two days notice after having stored his belongings in a closed, small room on the ground floor. On the map, it's the little room next to the cellar room.

After Nicholas Ipatiev's departure, the Bolsheviks built a high wooden fence all round the Ipatiev house, transforming the house into a fortress. The house had become "the house of special purpose," ready to welcome the Romanov family...

On July, 17, 1918, shortly after midnight, Yakov Yurovsky, the head Bolshevik captor of the royal family awoke his prisoners and asked them to go down in the house basement to take shelter. He said that the white army were encircling the city and that battle was imminent.
Former Czar Nicholas II, his wife Aleksandra, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, Tsarevich Alexei, and their faithful: Doctor Botkin, lady-in-waiting Anna Demidova, cooker Kharitonof and footman Trupp quickly woke up.

After getting themselves ready, the prisoners went down in the house basement under Yurovsky's leadership to a cellar room where he asked them to wait so that he could prepare their departure towards a safer place.
Outside, the Romanovs could hear an engine noise. Yurovsky disappeared.
For the prisoners, the waiting was prolonged. Aleksandra asked for some chairs. Someone brought them two. Suddenly, Yurovsky entered the room with 10 militia, armed with rifles and pistols, who formed a killing rank...

'Execution du Tsar а Ekaterinenbourg le 17 juillet 1918'
by the french painter Sarmat.

Then, they reloaded the bodies on trucks (including the 4 which were chared) in order to bury them in another deeper pit mine located not far from there.
But after some miles, the Fiat truck got stuck in the mud. As they were near a level crossing, they took here wood planks so that the truck might get over the mud and decided to bury the bodies in this place, under the road.
They started to dig a hole, quickly put the bodies in it, recovered it with wood planks and left the place, expecting to finish the work later.
But events did not leave them the time to end their task because some days after, on 25 th July, Ekaterinburg felt to the advancing white army...

I would like to thank Royal Russia News and Romanovs Memorial for this material

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


By Caroline Copley, Reuters

A performer disguised as a currywurst sausage poses in between giant fries at the German Currywurst Museum in Berlin. The exhibition, thematising the history and preparation of the currywurst sausage, opened August 15, 2009 for visitors. The German speciality consists of a sausage in a sauce made of ketchup and curry powder.Photograph by: Michael Gottschalk, AFP/Getty Images

BERLIN -- In the year that Berlin's best loved sausage, the Currywurst, celebrates its 60th Birthday a new museum showcasing the cult snack will open in the capital this weekend.
The Currywurst Museum, which claims to be Germany's first dedicated to the popular dish, opens its doors on August 15, welcoming visitors with the slogan, "Currywurst is more than just a sausage - it's one of life's experiences in Germany.
"No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans," said museum curator, Martin Loewer, who came up with the idea for the museum four years ago.
Of Germany's wide range of sausages, the currywurst is a national favorite, made from sliced pork sausage served with a sauce made of ketchup and curry powder.
Germans consume about 800 million currywursts annually -- 70 million are eaten in Berlin alone each year.
An array of interactive exhibits guide visitors along a 'sauce trail' through the history and variety of the beloved dish that has worldwide connoisseurs and even inspired a song by German musician, Herbert Groenemeyer.

Guests can climb inside a currywurst van, slice and prepare their own computer generated offerings against the clock and watch Grace Lee's 22 minute documentary film, "Best of the Wurst" (2004).
A spice chamber scents the air with curry powder as guests relax on the giant 'sauce sofa', shaped like a squirt of ketchup while an eco-alley assesses the environmental impact of fast food.
Tickets cost between seven and 11 euros ($15.70) and the museum expects about 350,000visitors annually. Merchandise ranges from kitchenware to cuddly currywursts retailing at 29.90 euros.
Loewer said he expected the museum to be popular despite the current economic crisis.
"Precisely in times of crisis (the Currywurst) is an excellent ambassador for the experience of Berlin. If nothing else the currywurst was born out of a time of crisis."
According to the museum, the currywurst was concocted by Berliner Herta Heuwer in 1949 when rationing was still in place in West Berlin. She began experimenting with ingredients provided by British soldiers living in the capital.
Nowadays hungry punters at one of Berlin's 2,000 currywurst stands have the choice of with or without intestine.
"Both are very popular," said Wolfgang Klamt, 56, who works at Bier's snack bar at Friedrichstrasse train station. "But I prefer mine with intestine - that's the proper hearty Berlin sausage."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


If you are heading to the Vatican City this year, you might consider hopping on a guided tour. Of course, visitors are not required to be part of a tour but the Vatican Museums' outstanding art collection and the sheer size (stretching over 9 miles) of the Vatican Museums really does require a bit of guidance.

There is a plethora of options for touring but keep in mind that the quality of tours can vary immensely. The tour company you choose can make or break your trip so be sure to do your research in order to find the tour company that best fits your requirements.

A few suggestions on creating a memorable visit at the Vatican:

Ask about the content of the tour. The Vatican collection is one of the largest in the world so the itinerary of the tours could vary greatly depending on which company you tour with. In fact, the reason that 'Vatican Museums' is plural is because there are several mini-museums that make up the 'Vatican Musuems'. (To take a peek at the collection visit Sections of the Vatican Museums) . Most all tours will visit the Sistine Chapel but check to make sure that St. Peter's Basilica is included, an architectual masterpiece in itself.

Group Size.
Inquire about group size. If you would like the opportunity to ask questions throughout your tour or to converse with your guide it is a good idea to choose a company that specializes in small group tours. Many groups are 30 people or more which makes the visit a bit impersonal and difficult to follow....but you need to ask in advance to find out the specific company's maximum group size. Presto Tours and MyVaticanTour are two companies that specialize in small group tours and have had positive reviews on the travel forums)

Make sure your guide speaks great English (or your preferred language) with little to no accent. This can be a major deciding point in whether you enjoy your tour or not. Then again, just because your guide is a native English speaker doesn't mean they're a great guide. Inquire about guides' qualifications. Are they teachers, art historians, students, academics? Have they simply memorized a script? Do the guides have a broad education or is their knowledge limited to the Vatican in itself? Are they personable?

Find out if the company has tours that are catered to children or if the tour is recommended for children. (Sometimes you can even make a special request for a guide who is exceptional with small children)

Check to see what past guests have said about the tour company. Tripadvisor is a great place to start. Or, sometimes the tour company will provide you with references and you could call or write to their past guests.

Long lines.
Don't choose a tour company just because they skip the line. Quality is more important than the amount of time you spend in line. However, if you find a quality tour company and would like to avoid the long lines make sure that your company skips the line in an ethical way; the Vatican Museums has a limited number of travel agent partners who are preapproved for using their special entrance. Beware that there are also companies who claim to skip the line but merely cut in front of someone when you arrive--a bit unethical especially since other travelers sometimes stand up to 2 hours in the same line.

Wheelchair use.
If you or a member of your group has physical difficulty with stairs you may want to use a wheelchair (which are available for free use in the Vatican Museums lobby). Keep in mind that oftentimes wheelchairs are not welcome on group tours because the Vatican Museums' layout is such that one in a wheel chair would need to take a different path through the museums due to lack of elevators. Check in advance.

Walking Tour or Bus Tour?
Some tour companies advertise their tours without mentioning that the first half of the tour will be spent on a bus and that the actual time spent admiring the Vatican's treasures will be very limited--an hour or less. Once you reach the Vatican City, no buses are allowed entry-all tours will be walking tours. Be sure to get the facts straight. Rome is very small so hotel pick-up is rather a nuisance if it means losing 1 or 2 hours of indulging in art, when, in reality, you could get to the Vatican on your own just as easily using public transport.

Related Reading.
Prepare yourself before you leave for your trip to Italy, read a book that is related to the Vatican's history, its artists, its Popes, and its religion. That way, you will be able to engage in the tour and pose questions to your expert guide.

Tour Cost.
Compare prices and find the best deal for a quality tour. Just because the price is high does not mean the quality is high.
Extras. In addition to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica there are also some lesser known attractions of the Vatican City: the Vatican Gardens, the Scavi Tour, the Papal Audience, the Pope's tombs, Michelangelo's Dome (which you can climb until the late afternoon), and the Vatican Historical Museum. Give yourself plenty of time to explore and book in advance to ensure you get to see all of these areas as the crowds tend to fill up spots very quickly.

The Creation of Adam. Michelangelo. 1508-1512.

Learning while traveling is a real joy so hopefully you will choose to reap the benefits of joining a guided tour. Whatever your decision, have a wonderul visit, remember the dress code in the warm months (women must cover knees and shoulders and men must wear long pants-no shorts or tank tops allowed), relax, and delight in the Vatican City State!

Monday, August 10, 2009



The walls are divided into three main tiers. The lower is decorated with frescoed wall hangings in silver and gold. The central tier of the walls has two cycles of paintings, which complement each other, The Life of Moses and The Life of Christ. They were commissioned in 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV and executed by Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Perugino, and Cosimo Roselli and their workshops. The upper tier is divided into two zones. At the lower level of the windows is a Gallery of Popes painted at the same time as the Lives. Around the arched tops of the windows are areas known as the lunettes which contain the Ancestors of Christ, painted by Michelangelo as part of the scheme for the ceiling.

Pope Julius II ordering Bramante, Michelangelo and Raphael to construct the Vatican and St. Peters, 1827, a painting by Horace Vernet.

The ceiling, commissioned by Pope Julius II and painted by Michelangelo between 1508 to 1511, has a series of nine paintings showing God's Creation of the World, God's Relationship with Mankind, and Mankind's Fall from God's Grace. On the large pendentives that support the vault are painted twelve Biblical and Classical men and women who prophesied that God would send Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind.

In 1515, Raphael was commissioned by Pope Leo X to design a series of ten tapestries to hang around the lower tier of the walls. Leo intended the works to hang beneath a series of 15th century frescos that had been commissioned by Sixtus IV. Raphael was at the time twenty-five and an established artist in Florence, with a number of wealthy patrons, yet he was ambitious, and keen to make an entry into the patronage of the papacy. Raphael was attracted by the ambition and energy of Rome.

Raphael saw the commission as an opportunity to be compared with Michelangelo, while Leo saw hangings as his answer to the ceiling of Julius. The subjects he chose were based on the text of the Acts of the Apostles. Work began in mid-1515. Due to their large size, manufacture of the hangings was carried out in Brussels, and took four years under the hands of the weavers in the shop of Pieter van Aelst.

Although Michelangelo's complex design for the ceiling was not quite what his patron, Pope Julius II, had in mind when he commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Twelve Apostles, the scheme displayed a consistent iconographical pattern. However, this was disrupted by a further commission to Michelangelo to decorate the wall above the altar with The Last Judgement, 1537-1541. The painting of this scene necessitated the obliteration of two episodes from the Lives, several of the Popes and two sets of Ancestors. Two of the windows were blocked and two of Raphael's tapestries became redundant.


The wall paintings were executed by the most respected painters of the 15th century: Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, Luca Signorelli and their respective workshops, which included Pinturicchio, Piero di Cosimo and Bartolomeo della Gatta. The subjects were historical religious themes, selected and divided according to the medieval concept of the partition of world history into three epochs: before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, between Moses and Christ's birth, and the Christian era thereafter. They underline the continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, or the transition from the Mosaic law to the Christian religion.

The walls were painted over a relatively short period of time, barely eleven months between July 1481 and May 1482. The painters were each required first to execute a sample fresco; these were to be officially examined and evaluated in January, 1482. However, it was so evident at such an early stage that the frescoes would be satisfactory that by October 1481, the artists were given the commission to execute the remaining ten stories.

Last Judgement by Michelangelo

The pictorial programme for the chapel was composed of a cycle each from the Old and New Testament of scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ. The narratives began at the altar wall - the frescoes painted there yielding to Michelangelo's Last Judgment a mere thirty years later - continued along the long walls of the chapel, and ended at the entrance wall. A gallery of papal portraits was painted above these depictions, and the latter were completed underneath by representations of painted curtains. The individual scenes from the two cycles contain typological references to one another. The Old and New Testaments are understood as constituting a whole, with Moses appearing as the prefiguration of Christ.

The typological positioning of the Moses and Christ cycles has a political dimension going beyond a mere illustrating of the correspondences between Old and New Testament. Sixtus IV was employing a precisely conceived program to illustrate through the entire cycle the legitimacy of papal authority, running from Moses, via Christ, to Peter, whose ultimate authority, conferred by Christ, ultimately to the Pope of present. The portraits of the latter above the narrative depictions served emphatically to illustrate the ancestral lineage of their God-given authority.

The two most important scenes from the fresco cycle, Perugino's Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter and Botticelli's The Punishment of Korah, both contain in the background the triumphal arch of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who gave the Pope temporal power over the Roman western world. The triumphal arch makes reference to the imperial grant of papal power of the Pope. Sixtus IV was, thereby, not only illustrating his position in a line of succession starting in the Old Testament and continuing through the New Testament up to contemporary times but simultaneously restating the view of the papacy as the legitimate successor to the Roman Empire.

Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter

Among Perugino's frescoes in the Chapel, the Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter is stylistically the most instructive. This scene is a reference to Matthew 16 in which the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" are given to St.Peter. These keys represent the power to forgive and to share the word of God thereby giving them the power to allow others into heaven. The main figures are organized in a frieze in two tightly compressed rows close to the surface of the picture and well below the horizon. The principal group, showing Christ handing the silver and gold keys to the kneeling St. Peter, is surrounded by the other Apostles, including Judas (fifth figure to the left of Christ), all with halos, together with portraits of contemporaries, including one said to be a self-portrait (fifth from the right edge). The flat, open square is divided by coloured stones into large foreshortened rectangles, although they are not used in defining the spatial organization. Nor is the relationship between the figures and the felicitous invention of the porticoed Temple of Solomon that dominates the picture effectively resolved. The triumphal arches at the extremities appear as superfluous antiquarian references, suitable for a Roman audience. Scattered in the middle distance are two secondary scenes from the life of Christ, including the Tribute Money on the left and the Stoning of Christ on the right.

The style of the figures is inspired by Andrea del Verrocchio. The active drapery, with its massive complexity, and the figures, particularly several apostles, including St. John the Evangelist, with beautiful features, long flowing hair, elegant demeanour, and refinement recall St Thomas from Verrocchio's bronze group in Orsanmichele. The poses of the actors fall into a small number of basic attitudes that are consistently repeated, usually in reverse from one side to the other, signifying the use of the same cartoon. They are graceful and elegant figures who tend to stand firmly on the earth. Their heads are smallish in proportion to the rest of their bodies, and their features are delicately distilled with considerable attention to minor detail.

The octagonal temple of Jerusalem and its porches that dominates the central axis must have had behind it a project created by an architect, but Perugino's treatment is like the rendering of a wooden model, painted with exactitude. The building with its arches serves as a backdrop in front of which the action unfolds. Perugino has made a significant contribution in rendering the landscape. The sense of an infinite world that stretches across the horizon is stronger than in almost any other work of his contemporaries, and the feathery trees against the cloud-filled sky with the bluish-gray hills in the distance represent a solution that later painters would find instructive, especially Raphael.

The fresco was believed to be a good omen in papal conclaves: superstition held that the cardinal who (as selected by lot) was housed in the cell beneath the fresco was likely to be elected. Contemporary records indicate at least three popes were housed beneath the fresco during the conclaves that elected them: Pope Clement VII, Pope Julius II, and Pope Paul III.