Considered to be one of the most important masterpieces in the entire world, the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 is an all-time classic and a favorite by locals and tourists when visiting the Vatican Museums in the Vatican City. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel offers some of the most beautiful frescoes of all time and it’s quite important to gather information about them before visiting the Chapel, so you can get the most out of this incredible art.
Let’s find out something more about Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and why you should visit it!
Visited by over twenty thousand people every day, the Sistine Chapel ceiling was commissioned to Michelangelo in 1508 by Pope Julius II. It used to be his private chapel and where the conclave which determined the election of the pope took place. At first, Michelangelo wasn’t really enthusiastic about painting the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, as he thought of himself as a sculptor (by 1508 he had already sculpted his infamous David). He was also busy at the time as he was already working on the Pope’s Mausoleum. He didn’t have much of a choice though and, because of this, he agreed to take on the project but only if he had complete creative control over it. At first, he would paint the frescoes the old-fashioned way, using a preparatory drawing, printed on the wet-plastered ceiling. Once he gained more confidence in his ability as a painter, he started to work on the frescoes completely freehand.
A GUIDE TO HIS WORK
The Sistine Chapel is filled with frescoes that depict scenes from the Old Testament. Something that people often get wrong is that he painted the ceiling lying down on a structure when he was, in fact, standing the whole time, tilting his neck, just like you have to when admiring it. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is divided into three sections telling three stories: The Creation of the Heavens and Earth, The Creation of Adam and Eve and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Here’s a list of the most important works of art you should look out for when visiting the Sistine Chapel:
- The Creation of Adam: considered to be the most important work of art in the Sistine Chapel, this fresco depicts Adam being created by God to his likeness. The two hold their hand out for each other but never touch, symbolizing the fact that God and Adam are not equal, as the first one gave him life;
- The Downfall of Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from the Garden of Eden;
- The Last Judgment: depicting the last Judgment by the God of Humanity
- The Creation of Eve;
Visiting the Sistine Chapel if you happen to be in Rome will definitely make for a wonderful experience and a way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Michelangelo’s art. If you want to get to know more about the city of Rome and Italy in general, check out our other blogs and book a private tour with us for the best experience possible!