November 1512 Michelangelo Finished the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo took the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512). According to Michelangelo’s account, Bramante and Raphael convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo in a medium not familiar to the artist. This was done in order that he, Michelangelo, would suffer unfavorable comparisons with his rival Raphael, who at the time was at the peak of his own artistry as the primo fresco painter. However, this story is discounted by modern historians on the grounds of contemporary evidence, and may merely have been a reflection of the artist’s own perspective.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (Image via Wikipedia)

Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but lobbied for a different and more complex scheme, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation through the prophets and Genealogy of Christ. The work is part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel which represents much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo, a "s...

Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo A "Spandrel" (Image via Wikipedia)

The composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from the Book of Genesis, divided into three groups: God’s Creation of the Earth; God’s Creation of Humankind and their fall from God’s grace; and lastly, the state of Humanity as represented by Noah and his family. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling are painted twelve men and women who prophesied the coming of the Jesus. They are seven prophets of Israel and five Sibyls, prophetic women of the Classical world.

Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo,

Hands of God and Adam (Image via Wikipedia)

Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Prophet Isaiah and the Cumaean Sibyl. Around the windows are painted the ancestors of Christ.

There is a 3D interactive site on the Sistine Chapel, it is magnificent, you can zoom in and see every detail of each painting on the wall or ceiling, it is well worth a look.
3D Sistine Chapel.

References:- Wikipedia Sistine Chapel – Wikepedia Michelangelo

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20 Responses to November 1512 Michelangelo Finished the Sistine Chapel

  1. holessence says:

    I followed the link…Oh my gosh, how darned COOL is that?!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi holessence,
      It certainly is cool, I loved zooming around the room and looking up close at the paintings, I saw paintings that I never knew were in the Chapel.

  2. Margie says:

    Quite wonderful how many places can be toured by internet!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Margie,
      I agree, I have never had the pleasure of actually seeing these paintings in the Sistine Chapel in real life, and to be able to get a close up view of them on the internet is fantastic.

  3. travelrat says:

    I take my hat off … I hate painting at the best of times, but painting the ceiling is the pits! 😀

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      The paintings are magnificent, and I’m sure it would never have been done today to that extent.
      We not long got our house painted on the inside, I cheated and got a painter, if I had done it, I would of ended up with more paint on me than on the walls and ceiling. 🙂

  4. E.C. says:

    Breathtaking! Truly MA ‘sart was inspired and blessed by God. 🙂

  5. bronxboy55 says:

    On a tour of the cathedral in Monreale (Italy), I learned that a painting on a curved ceiling has to be done in a distorted manner so that when viewed from below, it looks correct to the eye. How an artist knows how to do that is beyond me. It makes these amazing works of art seem all the more stunning. Thank you, Mags.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi bronxboy55,
      That sounds absolutely fascinating. The talent that some of these artists have is amazing, how you would be able to work that out is just mind boggling.

  6. Wow – that’s an amazing website, Mags! A wonderful virtual experience for those of us who will probably never see the Sistine Chapel. My daughter used to have a poster of the hands of God and Adam hanging in her room when she still lived at home. Thanks for sharing this!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Barbara,
      It truely is an amazing website, I never realized just how many paintings there were in the Chapel, and so beautiful as well.
      The hands of God is a popular piece, and you can understand why.

  7. souldipper says:

    499 years ago! Do you think Michelangelo knew about the Mayan Calendar?! Just kiddin’…!

    Very interesting – and what Bronxboy writes is dead accurate. On some statues, when you are able to rise high enough to be eye level with the top, one can see the distortions. They must have used scale models with great precision!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi souldipper,
      They were truly amazing people the artists of old, and no doubt there are very good artists around today, but I love the “old” works. 😀

  8. Red Nomad OZ says:

    Incredible! Amazing scope and execution – will anyone ever do anything that brilliant again??

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Red Nomad OZ,
      I cannot see anyone doing what the artists did way back in history, although there may be some that may like to have a go, but the cost would be tremendous I imagine, the other problem would be work place health and safety may not allow it. 🙂

  9. Val says:

    Four years doesn’t seem long enough for all that work, does it? So intricate. I’ve often looked at photos of the Sistine Chapel, but to be able to zoom around the room via the 3D display is amazing! (By the way, if you’ve a wheel mouse that is set up for it, you can use the wheel to zoom in and out, much easier than using the plus and minus buttons they provide). 🙂

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Val,
      Yes it certainly is a lot easier with the wheel on the mouse, the interactive web site certainly makes you appreciate all the work that was put into the chapel.

  10. dearrosie says:

    Fascinating information Mags. I’m lucky to have been to the Sistine Chapel twice (though the last time was a lifetime ago – almost 40 years ago) so I’ve forgotten the number of figures he painted, and I didn’t know about the distortion Charles mentioned in his comment. I’m going to play with the mouse as Val instructed.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi dearrosie,
      You are very lucky to have seen these beautiful paintings. I also didn’t realize about the distortions either, it really is fascinating.
      Have fun with the interactive web site. 🙂

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