The Sistine chapel was the only one of Michelangelo’s large scale projects that was insisted by religious leaders such as Julius II and Paul III (Harris, 1976, p 20). The main fresco of the Sistine chapel took four years to complete (1508-12). The last Judgment was created twenty three years later after completing the Genesis ceiling fresco. It is located on the altar of the Sistine chapel. The Last Judgment was commissioned by Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) shortly before his death, and confirmed in 1535 by his successor, Pope Paul III (1468-1549) who was considered the first Counter Reformation Pope. As a religious artwork it was the largest single fresco mural painting of the 16th century (www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/). It was part of the mannerism movement in art and architecture between the 14th and 15th century to show the distortion and exaggeration of human proportions to represent an ideal of beauty rather than its natural form. The last judgement is depicted as a Counter-Reformation painting that reflected embarrassment of the Roman Catholic Church after the failure to stop the protestant reformation (Kedler, 1969, p 160). Furthermore it was created after the Sack of Rome in 1527 by troops of Emperor Charles V, in which compelled the Pope to abandon the Vatican and flee to Orvieto. These events were perceived by some as an indication of a divine wrath by God. The painting was presented to the Catholic community as universal message of the second coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgement by God of all humanity. The Last Judgment was a very controversial piece at the time because, unlike other artists, Michelangelo portrayed the subjects naked in which demonstrated the lack of importance that riches would have at the end of the world when humanity stands before the judgment of Christ and God (www.visual-arts-cork.com/). Unlike his earlier work of the Sistine chapel, his depiction of the Last Judgment was much more neutral as well as...
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Kedler Diane, (1969). 'Michelangelo '. In: (ed), Pagent of the Renaissance. 1st ed. United States of America : Frederick A.Praeger Inc . pp.160.
Collins Neil (2010). Last Judgment Fresco by Michelangelo. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/last-judgment-fresco.htm. [Last Accessed 1st December 13].
Abrahams Simon (2005). Michelangelo’s Art Through Michelangelo’s Eyes. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/essay_pdfs/MLJ1.pdf. [Last Accessed 4 December 13].
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Michealangelo’s Last Judgement
The West and The World
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