Friday, September 14, 2007

Michaelangelo's Chapel Ceiling

I wanted to give some other examples of beautiful art at the Vatican. This is Michaelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel

On 8 May 1508, the artist signed the contract which foresaw the painting of twelve apostles in the pendentives and ornamental motifs in the rest. Subsequently, at the request of Buonarotti himself, who considered the project to be a "poor thing", the Pope gave him a new commission in which he left the full planning of the programme to the artist. It is however quite likely that for his creation the artist availed of the cooperation of the theologians of the papal court. Michelangelo placed nine Central stories illustrating episodes of the Genesis within a powerful painted architecture, with at their sides figures of Nudes, holding medallions with texts taken from the Book of Kings. At the base of the architectural structure twelve Prophets and Sibyls seated on monumental thrones are countered lower down by Christ's forefathers, portrayed in the Webs and in the Lunettes (north wall, south wall, entrance wall). Finally, in the four corner Pendentives, the artist illustrated some episodes of the miraculous salvation of the people of Israel. Michelangelo completed the first half of the Ceiling, that is from the entrance wall to the Creation of Eve, in August 1510. The work must have been completed by 31 October 1512, as the Pope celebrated Mass in the Chapel on 1 November.


Kelly said...

What is this in regards to? Did I miss a conversation down in comments somewhere?

Elena said...

This is actually a public service announcement! Since we have gotten so many hits this week, I think I want to use the bully pulpit to do some educating as well as defending!

But it was also inspired by Candy's pictures of Catholic artwork at the Vatican last week. Certainly the Sistine Chapel and the ceiling painting has to be one of the most famous pieces of artwork at the Vatican!

motherofmany said...

Actually, it is Michelangelo (all one word) and this is his first name. He had a crazy, long name- Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni! That's why people usually shorten it and just call him Michelangelo.

Blondie said...


When I was growing up, my parents had a formal living room in which we kids were not allowed to step foot in without permission. In the middle of the coffee table was an oversized, leatherbound family Bible. I used to love to get permission to sit in there and look through the Bible. There were many, many pictures of the Sistine chapel and close-ups of Michelangelo's work. I would stare at the pictures and think about and meditate upon the Bible stories or characters the pictures represented. I remember doing this as a very small child.

A couple years ago after my mom died, and my dad sold our family home, we were going through storage boxes and I ran across that Bible. Of course, it is old, yellowed and falling apart - but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it said on the cover "Catholic Family Bible." My parents were NOT Catholic, in fact, were slightly anti-Catholic, so I found this very interesting!

Erika S. said...

I went to Rome in the Year of Jubilee in 2000 and saw the Sistine Chapel first hand. It was one of the most awe inspiring things that I have every seen. Art was so beautiful back when the artist did it for the glory of God not for their own glory.