de Bart McDowell
"I was given the rare opportunity to lift the veil of privacy for
a privileged look inside the Vatican," writes photographer James
L. Stanfield in his foreword to this book.
nearly a year, seven days a week, Stanfield photographed virtually every
corner of the 108.7-acre enclave that is both the world's smallest nation
and the center of the world's largest religious body, the Roman Catholic
Church. Pope John Paul II, the Roman Curia, the color and pomp of centuries-old
ceremonies, the wondrous art and architecture, the daily lives of ordinary
citizens -- all are part of Stanfield's unprecedented coverage.
Bart McDowell guides you through this extraordinary place. He begins
with a historical perspective, going back to ancient times when the
area, known as the Vaticanus, was a marshland infamous for snakes and
malaria. In the fourth century, Emperor Constantine built a great basilica
there, the first St. Peter's; around it grew a settlement that would
become home to the popes and territorial base of the church for most
of its succeeding history.
subsequent chapters, McDowell explains the workings of the Holy See,
the church's labyrinthine government. He introduces many of the people
who make their living in the Vatican. And he takes you into one of the
world's great collections of paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, and
other treasures. In a final chapter he presents the modern popes, particularly
the charismatic John Paul II.
beautiful and exclusive photographs and revealing text, Inside the Vatican
celebrates a small, dynamic community unique in the world. --