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The Ceiling in the Sistine Chapel

The artwork within the Sistine Chapel is considered to be the peak of Renaissance art. It involved many artists, but Michelangelo is credited for the paintings of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

In the beginning, Michelangelo was not convinced he was capable of painting the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, but after four years at work, he revealed a masterpiece. 

    In Roma lies the Sistine Chapel. It is in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its architecture and, most or all, its artwork, which has been frescoed throughout the Renaissance by artists Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli.

    The Sistine Chapel is rectangular in shape and measures 40.93 meters in length by 13.41 meters in width.

    The history behind the Sistine Chapel

    Michelangelo's paintings were of an artistic "High Renaissance" style. The paintings on the ceiling are all frescoes; very bright in color, and easily visible from floor-level.

    The ceiling in the Sistine Chapel was painted in the Renaissance era. It was in 1508, when Michelangelo had to stop his work on a tomb to accept the commission from Pope Julius to do the paintings on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. It was to be Michelangelo's first attempt at fresco painting.

    In order to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo had to use a scaffold supported by beams and holes in the walls. For the ceiling itself he had used a new way to mix plaster (it's called intonaco), which is still being practiced today by Italians.

    While painting the ceiling, Michelangelo had experienced many discomforts, such as back pain and breathing problems. In the end, it took him 4 years (1508-1512) to complete it. When completed, the ceiling revealed nine scenes from Genesis.

    Even though Pope Julius had given specific instructions on what artworks was to be done in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo disregarded them and came up with his own artistic plans that had a different meaning from the original one.

    Michelangelo's Genesis and Last Judgement frescoes on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel are his most appreciated works. Another fresco painting, one that is on the lower part of the ceiling, is the Ancestors of Christ.

    The art and significance of the work inside the Sistine Chapel

    Michelangelo had painted the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in luminous colors; thus, giving the paintings a glimpse of his artistic talent. The artwork is very clear and detailed. Also, each of the paintings consist of several individual scenes with hundreds of life-size figures that display images of the world (in heaven and hell).

    In the Genesis Fresco there is "The Creation of Adam," which shows God passing the Spark of Life to Adam. Instead, Separation of Light and Darkness expresses God's plan for human salvation from the moment in which God created the universe. Another image worth noting is the one where God is shown with his arms outstretched in a cross, suggesting the sacrifice of Christ. This fresco is called the Creation of Sun, Moon, and Planets.

    There are several paintings on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Here are are few images:

    About Michelangelo

    Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born in 1475 at Caprese, in Tuscany (Italy). He was an important artist of his time, the XVI century. He was a master painter during " The High Renaissance" in Italy . He was not only an artist, but a sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. The paintings on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel is only one of many of his contributes as a great artist. He came to his death in 1564; he lived to be 89 years old.