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The 16th Chapel ? April 19, 2017

Posted by anagasto in drawing, history, painting.
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It is called The Sistine or Cappella Sistina because it had been restored by Pope Sixtus IV, and so its name does not mean sixteen.

Michelangelo was used to extremely hard work, but he could not have survived painting sixteen chapels like this one.

Isaiah by Michelangelo

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This was 500 years ago. Michelangelo had never painted a fresco. The Pope told Michelangelo to paint the chapel, Michelangelo protested, the Pope insisted, Michelangelo had to obey. (This Pope was Julius II)

At the time an artist was considered a kind of technologist. There is even a famous CV where Leonardo da Vinci applied for a job as a military engineer. He mentions as an aside that he could paint “as well as anybody else”.

Michelangelo had to teach himself  the fresco technique of painting with watercolours on wet plaster. Twelve thousand square feet (1,100 m2) to paint while standing on a wriggly scaffold !

Below is a thumbnail just to give you an idea.

The diagram of the ceiling helps identify the Biblical figures and stories of the ceiling. There are so many that each is lost in the crowd.

If you are preparing for an exam, see the excellent flashcards at http://quizlet.com/8180036/michelangelo-sistine-ceiling-gatta-notes-flash-cards/

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The creation of Adam

There is a five star interactive video published by the Vatican where you can direct the camera with your mouse. Since there are always crowds of tourists trying to get in, there are people willing and able to pay several hundred dollars for a private visit to the chapel, but they cannot see it as well as you now with your tablet, your computer, or even your phone :-D.

And of course a modern viewer with his computer can get to know and appreciate at least some of them individually better than any tourist ever.

The ceiling frescos have always been controversial; there are too many naked people jumping around, and there is so much movement going on everywhere that the whole place discourages both meditation and prayer.

This would be why Nietzsche thought that Catholicism was just about to break up into a polytheist fiesta when that drab Luther came and spoiled the fun.

Who would have known that this was by Michelangelo? And that it was in the famous chapel?

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