My favorite Work of Art from Italy: The Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

My favorite work of art was the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, even though I could not get a picture of it. The ceiling was originally blue and covered with gold stars but in 1508, Pope Julius II hired Michelangelo to repaint the ceiling. When Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to repaint it, he was in the middle of sculpting the Popes tomb. Michelangelo began painting the ceiling 1508 and didn’t finish until 1512, painting it in a standing position on scaffolding the entire time. It is one of the most famous works of art from the renaissance and it is also centered around several scenes from the old testament, beginning with the creation of the world and ending with Noah and the flood. When Michelangelo stated the painting, he began with Noah and the flood at the entrance side of the Sistine chapel. Once he finished this scene, he realized the figures in it were too small for the ceiling. As a result, the figures get bigger and bigger as they get closer to the opposite side of the chapel. As they get larger, they are also painted with expression of movement. In the triangles above the windows, Michelangelo painted people from the old testament that may have been part of Christ’s human ancestry. In the spaces between the triangles, he painted prophets from the old testament and pagan sibyls, the most well-known being the Libyan sibyl. Michelangelo also painted architectural molding and statues that appear to be concrete structures to frame each scene in the painting. In order to view the scenes featured in the painting right side up, the viewer has to go to the side opposite the entrance to the chapel. The painting is also in near perfect condition. The only thing that is not is the sky in the scene of Noah’s escape from the flood, which has a piece missing as a result of a nearby explosion in 1997 that caused a piece of it to fall to the ground and shatter.

By Ashley Whitman

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