Michelangelo’s Fresco in the Cappella Sistina – Important Facts

October 4, 2014Diana Lengerson

Sistine Chapel (or Cappella Sistina) is among the most visited places in Rome, Italy. Sistine Chapel is found on the right side of the Cathedral of Saint Peter. This is the chapel of the papal palace, which was built on the base of mystery and silence.

Sistine Chapel is a parallelepiped shape, with a length of 41 meters, a width of 13.41 meters and a height of nearly 21 meters. The Chapel is divided into two parts: on eastern end is the altar, and in the west there is a space for believers. The ceiling is vaulted chapel, western style and conservators in their upper part, are illuminated by a series of 12 large windows. The floor of the chapel shows a remarkable mosaic of colored marble.

Sistine Chapel is the place where meetings are held after which choose the next pope. The first service was officiated here on 9 August 1483, on this occasion the chapel is dedicated to Virgin Mary.

Michelangelo’s fresco in the Cappella Sistina – Important facts

Chapel walls were dressed with paintings in a very short period, i.e. in less than 11 months: July 1481 – May 1482, by Michelangelo and few other artists of the period. Painting problems (plans) were evaluated in January. Being convincing, until October 1481 artists were given permission to finish the other ten books.

These murals are divided into three major periods according to respective time thinking, which divides history into three major periods, namely: the period from the creation until the giving of the Ten Commandments; period from Moses to the birth of Jesus Christ; between Christianity after Christ.

The two scenes of great paintings on the walls are the work of Perugino, the “Christ gives the keys to Peter,” and Botticelli’s work with “Punishment of Korah” both background depicts the Arch of Constantine, the first great Christian emperor that the pope had given temporary driving power in the Western Roman Empire.

Punishment of Korah

Punishment of Korah, is depicted together with the Jewish revolt against Moses and Aaron. Due to the difficulties experienced by the Jewish people after leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, some of the people rebelled against Moses, demanding his removal and lifting another leader, who lead them back to Egypt. Joshua will sit between the rebels, led by Korah, one of his sons, and the two accused unjustly. The earth will open and swallow them on the rebellion. In the center, on the pole, it is written: “No man should not seek their own honor, except he who is called by God, as was Aaron.” Aaron gate per papacy papal insignia obvious desire for the respect authority, saying like: “Nobody ie not resist those elected by God to lead.”

– Ceiling

The ceiling of the chapel will remain unfinished with only simple painted in blue with yellow stars from place to place, either because of a certain weight, or from another cause. Thus, in 1508, Pope entrusted Michelangelo with this honorable task.

Michelangelo worked on the Sistine Chapel ceiling painting, covering more than 500 square meters for four years. Between 1508-1512, the artist has made almost daily exhausting effort, especially working alone without apprentices.

Due to the large height of the chapel, the ceiling was painted difficultly. The first version of the help came from Bramante. However, since after removing the platform would have remained holes in ceiling platform, Michelangelo built his own scaffold, all suspended, but supported with some key holes on the edges.

Sistine ceiling depicts nine scenes from the age leading to world’s creation:

1. Separation of Light from Darkness

2. Creation of the Sun and Moon and the creation of plants

3. Separation of ground from water

4. Creation of Adam

5. Creation of Eve

6. Expulsion from Paradise

7. Sacrifice of Noah

8. The Flood

9. Drunkenness of Noah

In 12 separate fields Michelangelo painted rectangular faces of seven prophets and five sibyls, as follows:

Prophets: 

– Daniel
– Ezekiel
– Isaiah
– Jeremiah
– Joel
– Iona
– Zechariah

Sibyls: 

– Sibyl of Cumae (Sibila Cumana)
– Delphic Sibyl (Sibila DELF)
– Sibyl of Eritrea (Eritrean Sibyl)
– Sibyl of Libya (Libyan Sibyl)
– Sibyl of Persia (Persian Sibyl)

The 14 fields are semicircular ceiling frescoes (by Michelangelo) the forerunners of Jesus (Matthew 1.1 to 16), 6 on the north wall, six on the south wall and two on the opposite wall known as “Last Judgement”.

Northern wall:

Baptism of Jesus (Pietro Perugino, 1482)

These are the most important facts to be acknowledged when it comes to Michelangelo’s fresco in the Cappella Sistina.

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