A Spiritual and Humanistic Mix - the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

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A Spiritual and Humanistic Mix
The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
April 29, 2011

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy is a masterpiece of biblical symbolism and humanistic style. Michelangelo was able to present both Catholic and Humanistic element in such a way that they do not visually conflict and blend into one of the most often visited pieces of artwork in the world. This work of art can tell us a lot about the values of society at that time and our progression through that period. Michelangelo’s fresco ceiling has since inspired many artists and elements in the ceiling have been imitated often in the years since then. Michelangelo de Buonarotti, a painter, sculptor, architect and poet was born in 1475 in Tuscany, Italy. At the age of twelve, he began studying under Domenico Ghirlandajo, who was the most fashionable painter in Florence at that time. After that he went to work with Bertoldo di Givoanni, the sculptor and it was then that Michelangelo discovered the style that would become his life’s work. His most famous statues include the eighteen foot David and the Pieta, but he did many other sculptures and tombs. Michelangelo has been described as an uneven tempered, mistrusting and lonely man. It has been said that he lacked confidence in his physical appearance and had poor interpersonal skills. Michelangelo who regarded himself as a sculptor first and foremost, almost refused to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Pope Julius II had decided that only Michelangelo could complete this work of art which would help restore Rome to its former glory and persuaded him to do so by bribing him with the promise of his sculpting 40 massive figures for his future tomb. Once Michelangelo agreed to do the chapel ceiling he threw himself into it with vigor. Michelangelo was off to a slow start, never having painted frescos before, he had to learn the art of buon fresco (Italian for true fresco) which is considered to...
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