Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City. It is one of the most famous and memorable pieces of art in the history of art. This beautiful piece of art history took a little over four years to complete. He started this project in July of 1508 and finished in October of 1512. Pope Julius II had requested Michelangelo paint the ceiling in the chapel. The Pope was strong-minded that Rome should be renovated to show its prior exaltation. He was on a mission to show this by painting the ceiling of the chapel and he wanted the very best painter complete it, which he believed to be Michelangelo. Julius II assumed that if he had the ceiling painted that it would glorify his name and he would become more popular with the people under him. Pope Julius II wanted to make sure that every job he did for the Vatican City was more impressive than Pope Alexander VI, which was Julius’s rival.
The ceiling to this day is 131 feet long by 43 feet wide which means that Michelangelo painted roughly 5,000 square feet of the ceiling. There were questions such as why was Michelangelo painting when he was a sculptor and the answer was that the Pope believed he would be the best for the job, even though that Michelangelo had only painted one other painting in his career because he worked mostly with sculptures. The start to this painting was slow simply because Angelo had never painted frescoes before. Angelo had to learn many new techniques for this painting but once he understood what he was doing his pace of painting sped up quite a bit. (Esaak.) Many questions were asked about the painting and about Michelangelo while the painting was going on and many, many years afterwards. There are still questions going on to this day. One questions asked was why it took four years to paint the ceiling and there were many various reasons as to why this was. There were many setbacks such as mold, which made the painter and some of the others in the building during this time sick, and glum, wet weather often because of the frequent rain that prevented the plaster and molding to dry and stick together. During the time period of the painting Pope Julius II went off to war, and became close to death at one time. (Katz.) This prevented Michelangelo from getting paid and furthering the painting because, although the entire project and design was his, Angelo did not want to make any decisions without the conformation from Julius. Angelo created this whole design himself, but he did need assistants when it came to completing the project. His assistants did things such as mix paints, rush up and down the ladders, and prepare the plaster he needed for his project. Angelo trusted very few to let him ever paint the ceiling. There were rare incidents that allowed him to trust someone enough to work on the sky or landscape parts, but they never did more than that. Most people always wondered if he completed the ceiling all by himself and questioned if that was a reason the painting took so long to accomplish.
One question that also struck the audience was if Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel lying on his back, as most rumors would tell. The answer to this question was no, he did not. There was a movie made which reenacted the painting of the chapel, and the actor in that movie did lie on his back to create a more dramatic effect of how challenging the painting was. Angelo actually assembled a scaffolding system, which is a temporary structure for holding workers and materials during the production or decoration of a building mostly used by painters. The one he created himself was sturdy enough o hold himself, workers, and materials needed to complete his project but was higher up because there was always a chance it couldn’t hold the weight up. (Katz) There were many rumors going around that Angelo had a few misfortunes when it came to his health during the duration of the painting. He had to bend...
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