Unit 6 Assignment-Option B-The Sistine Chapel
HU250 – 06
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo beginning in 1508. The task was completed in 1512, four years later. Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor not a painter and resisted Pope Julius II request for quite some time. More than 20 years later, Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo to paint the giant fresco "The Last Judgment" behind the altar. The artist, then in his 60s, painted it from 1536 to 1541. Prior to painting the ceiling, Michelangelo had not done any frescoes. The shear artistry and amazing talent of Michelangelo is apparent while inspecting the images seen on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No other artist has undertaken nor succeeded in surpassing Michelangelo’s work. To know that Michelangelo had only briefly painted prior to beginning work on the Sistine Chapel makes the images even more beautiful. His images are very lifelike and realistic even from far distances. The ability to create images that are correct in form and depth on curved surfaces is incredibly difficult for any artist, let alone one who considers himself a sculptor not a painter. There are more than 300 images painted onto the ceiling. I have only seen these images in print and video. The sheer magnitude of the works in person has to be overwhelming. One day I hope to visit the Sistine Chapel and see the beauty in person. The frescoes represent scenes from the Book of Genesis, portraits of prophets and sibyls, Jesus’ ancestors and stories of the tragedies of ancient Israel, with numerous smaller figures, cherubs and nude images which were controversial at the time of the painting. (Esaak, n.d.)There are so many images in the painting that it is difficult to focus on just one area. “Using his extraordinary artistic capacities, Michelangelo tried to translate into visible forms the invisible beauty and majesty of God and guided by the words of...
References: Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd Ed.). New York: Pearson Education.
Esaak, S. (n.d.) The Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo- About.com http://arthistory.about.com/od/famous_paintings/a/sischap_ceiling.htm
The Sistine Chapel. (n.d.) The Vatican Museum. http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/CSN/CSN_Storia.html
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