The Painting of the Sistine Chapel

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The Sistine Chapel, located in the Vatican City, was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti between 1508 and 1512, but the actual chapel's construction was finished in 1480 under the supervision of Pope Sixtus IV. Michelangelo accepted the commission reluctantly knowing that painting a ceiling of over 5,000 square feet, and 60 feet in the air was a near impossible task and would require him to give up his love of sculpting.

Michelangelo started painting the chapel commisioned to paint only the twelve disciples on the ceiling. The final product yielded over 300 figures. The basic mindset that Michelangelo had while painting the ceiling was extravagance and perfection. The ceiling had originally been painted with a blue sky and gold stars. That was Michelangelo's starting canvas. Michelangelo realized that he needed help with this project. No one could paint that big of an area by themselves (or so he thought). Once he rounded up a dozen or so up and coming artists he had to deal with the problem of finding a way to get 60 feet in the air. He hired a skilled architect to build a special scaffolding. The architect's idea for the scaffolding was to hang it from the ceiling by four big heavy ropes. Michelangelo discarded this idea because it would put four large holes in his final work. He then drew the plans for the scaffolding himself. He had a set of zigzag stairs that led to the scaffolding which was supported from the sides of the chapel. This allowed him more room to work, and didn't interfere with the ceiling. The next step was to find a medium of paint to use on the chapel ceiling. He started painting the chapel by laying down a base of plaster then painting over it. Soon, he realized that the moisture in the walls caused mold to grow which then softened the plaster causing it to crumble. This was a dissapointing setback for Michelangelo, but his most trusted assistant, Jacopo L'Indaco, developed a new plaster that would not retain moisture. This allowed the...
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