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Analysis of the SISTINE CHAPEL by Michelangelo

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Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: Analysis

The Sistine Chapel is one of the great works of the history of universal art. A work that decorates the headquarters of the conclave in which the Pope is elected. Michelangelo, one of the great geniuses of the Renaissance, is the author of the spectacular decoration of the walls of the chapel, its vault and the wall behind the altar, an area in which he painted The final judgement.

Its restoration at the end of the 20th century demonstrated the great ability and talent of Michelangelo by revealing to us the mastery of the technique, the intensity of the color, the enormous size of the figures, the roundness of the forms and how the painter he overcame all obstacles painting alone and on a curved surface. In this lesson from a Teacher we offer you a Analysis of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, in addition to dwelling on its history.

The Sistine Chapel It is a work painted by Miguel Angel. It is one of the chapels of the Apostolic Palace located in Vatican City and place where the Popes are chosen and crowned. At first, it was considered

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Chapel Magna of the Vatican fortress, receiving its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who ordered its restoration at the end of the 15th century. The Sistine Chapel was always the scene of papal ceremonies.

During that same pontificate, some of the great renaissance painters of the Cuatrocentto such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Roselli and Signorello, carried out a series of fresco panels on the life of Moses and that of Jesus Christ. Some panels accompanied by portraits of the Popes.

After its completion in 1482 and given the popularity achieved by Michelangelo after sculpting the Piety (1499) and David, the Pope Julius II he called him to Rome in 1505 to carry out the ambitious project of his tomb. Due to the quarrels between the two, the project did not materialize, but the Pope ended up demanding his presence for a new one: paint the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel.

Curiosities of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo carried out the frescoes in the chapel between 1508 and 1512, decorating the vault of the chapel, also making the ceiling frescoes. The result of it is impressive and constitutes one of the great works of universal art.

  • The vault was quite a challenge because of its height and dimension and there were already problems from the first moment. Thus, Michelangelo did not agree with the scaffolding mounted by Bramante and dismantled it to build one based on his own design.
  • The technique was also a handicap, since the cool it does not allow errors and it is necessary to transfer the drawing and the color when the plaster is still fresh.
  • The first attempts were not as satisfactory as Michelangelo expected, since molds bloomed and the painting had to be removed and repainted. This happened with the fresco of the Universal Deluge.
  • The impossible poses, the curvature of the vault, the rivalries, threats and pressure from the Pope himself were a real torture for the painter, even suffering physical attacks by the pontiff.

Michelangelo learned as he went and made an immense effort to bring the work to completion. Although he did not consider himself a painter and also had the tomb of Julius II as a commission, he accepted the challenge and covered the great vault with spectacular and beautiful frescoes. Thus, this great creator also consecrated himself as a painter despite Bramante's wishes that he fail and eliminate him as a competitor in papal commissions.

In 1533 he frescoed the universal judgment on the choir wall, commissioned by Clement VII de' Medici.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: analysis - History of the Sistine Chapel - summary

The Sistine Chapel is a rectangular room just over 40 meters long by almost 14 meters wide and 20 meters high. The great extension of the surface led him to compartmentalize it into 9 sections, by means of a painted or fake architecture, precedent of the baroque illusionism. The vault has the same dimensions as that of Solomon's temple.

We will offer here a brief analysis of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo:

  • In the four corner pendentives represents four scenes from the Old Testament that narrate the salvation of the Jewish people from different threats: Judith and Holofernes, David and Goliath, the bronze serpent and Haman's punishment.
  • In the triangular spandrels over the windows, eight in total, and in the lunettes the ancestors of Christ are represented in the order cited in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • False pilasters are created between the spandrels and pendentives. Among them, and seated on thrones, seven prophets and five sibyls are represented. Some figures that unite the ancient pagan world and the Christian world.
  • Fake fajon arches start over the pilasters and divide the vault into different sections in which to represent the central scenes.
  • On the top of the pilasters, at the start of the transverse arches, Michelangelo represented some young male figures, almost sculptural, called ignored.
  • In the central panels nine scenes are represented that represent the creation and other Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation.
  • The best-known scene, and a masterpiece of universal painting, is the creation of man: Adam. A work of unique iconographic complexity, its representation of God becoming a prototype, an old and wise man. Adam is a young man of classic beauty.
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: Analysis - Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Analysis
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