Paintings in the Sistine Chapel

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First created 26 Jan 2011. Version 1.1 Jerry Tse. London.

Entrance Wall
The Entrance Wall collapsed in 1522, destroying the two paintings by Domenici Ghirlandaio and by Luca Signorelli. These painting were replaced at a later date by works on the same subjects by Hendrick van den Broeck and Matteo da Lecce.

North Wall

On the eye level, the wall is covered by a set of tapestries (not shown above), which are normally covered. Above the tapestries are two series of paintings – „The Life of Moses‟ and „The Life of Christ‟. They complement each other and was commissioned in 1480 during the construction of the building.

The following are paintings on the northern wall by Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Rosselli.

Perugino & Pinturicchio

Baptism shows the deeper spiritual belief of the new religion, Christianity.

Sermon of John the Baptist. The Baptism of Christ is equivalent to the spiritual circumcision of Judism, depicted on the painting on the opposite wall.

Christ Preaching.

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Christ met the devil after fasting 40 days in the wilderness, prior to his crucifixion.

Devil offered Christ riches and power to rule the world.

Devil challenged Christ to jump from the roof.
Devil challenged Christ to turn stone into bread.

A Jewish sacrificial offering scene, with the girl offering a bowl of blood to the priest. This is a hint of the coming crucifixion of Christ, who offer his flesh and blood for the salvation of mankind.

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Christ on the shore with Simon. A group of women. who sponsored Ghirlandaio. Peter and Andrew on their fishing boat. Click to advance . with castles and Churches. Christ recruits the Apostles.Ghirlandaio A landscape background with a city. why? A Medici bankers in black standing behind Christ. Group of influential Florentine who lived in Rome.

Christ‟s Sermon on the Mount. Click to advance .Rosselli & Cosimo Guildlines from Christ. at which he handed out Christian guidelines The disciples Christ‟s healed the leper.

who founded the church. The Virgin and the Apostles. The triumph arch is a reference to Ancient Rome adopted Christianity. This directly connected Christ to the Catholic church.Perugino Christ handed the key to haven to St Peter. Click to advance . Stoning of Christ Judas The Apostles. Perugino The architect Christ handing the key to heaven to St Peter.

Dancing dog The wine Click to advance .Rosselli Connecting Catholic practices and rituals to Christ Christ praying on the mount Christ Arrested Crucifixion Chalice on the table refer to the institution of sacrament.

. The following are paintings on the southern wall telling of stories of „The Life of Christ‟ and „The Life of Mosses‟. Above them is a row decorative paintings (Spandrel). Above the popes are paintings of the Ancestors of Christ (the Lunette).South Wall Above the row of paintings is a row of portraits of popes.

Angel led Moses to the mountain to see the Promise Land before he died. Click to advance . The Ark of Covenant with two tablet of the laws.Signorelli Signorelli was a student of Piero della Francesca. The death of Moses Joshua appointed as Moses successor Not quite sure why this group of people were included with a male nude and a pregnant woman. Part of the work was painted by Bartolomeo della Gatta.

as they were swallowed by the Earth. the high priest attacked by mob. as rebels staggered and fell. Moses called God to punish the rebels. Click to advance . Innocents protected by standing on clouds Aaron.” The painting depicts three episodes in the rebellion against God‟s chosen Moses and Aaron. Rebellious mob threatened to stone Moses. The message is “Any challenge to the authority of the church will be punished by God. raised his incense burner. with Joshua protecting them.Botticelli This holds the key to understand the Sistine Chapel.

Moses smashed the Ten commandments in anger.Rosselli & Cosimo Moses received the Ten Commandments. Click to advance . Jewish laws from God. Idol worshipers put to death. Moses showed the Ten Commandments to his people. Israelites worshiped the Golden Calf idol.

Moses asked the pharaoh to release the Jews.Rosselli Non-believers drown in pursuit of God‟s chosen people. The Jews safely crossed the Red Sea with a miracle of God Moses with staff in hand The Egyptian army chasing the Jews were drown by the Red Sea Prophetess Miriam Click to advance .

Botticelli 7 episodes in the life of Moses. Moses followed God commands and led Israeli out of Egypt. Moses fled. God appeared in the burning bush. Moses dispersed the shepherds. Moses attacked his Egyptian overseer. Click to advance . who stopped the daughters of Jethro using the well.

Circumcision Click to advance . Angel tells Moses to circumcise his son.Perugino & Pinturicchio Circumcision is a reference to the older Jewish religion. Landscape painted by Pinturicchio Journey to Egypt after exile.

. based on the dimension of the Temple of Solomon in Holy land.Automatic advance Completed in 1483.

The work on the ceiling was started in 1508. After he finished the work. .Ceiling At the centre of the ceiling is a row of nine paintings from the Book of Genesis. It took its toll on Michelangelo working on his back. It took 4 years to complete. Michelangelo turn down the commission. He saw himself as a sculptor and not a painter. Originally. He also refused a team of assistants to help with the paintings. he hardly painting anything until 24 years later when he started on the Last Judgment.

With splendid foreshortening. Michelangelo succeeded created the illusion of God floating in the air. The painting is comprised of two scenes with God appears twice.This is one of the four larger paintings on the centre of the ceiling. .

at that moment man was created. . God was surrounded by characters.God gives the life to Adam. He barely able to raise his arm. Adam appears to be without energy. God on the contrary is the source of energy. to form a shape that some interpreted as reassembling a human brain or a uterus.

.Again the painting is divided into two scenes – temptation and expulsion with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle.

.A rather muscular Eve.

as he was unhappy about the work of his assistance. .Michelangelo repainted some of the scene.






Ignudi At the corner of the paintings on the ceilings are the Ignudi (The Nude). with a face of a female. They are beautifully painted with animated posture. This one is unusual in that the head seems to be just stuck on the body. .

Sibyls Sibyl is the Greek word meaning prophetess from the antiquity. Delphic Sibyl. 1509. They are only known through legends. .

1509. .Delphic Sibyl.

. Persian Sibyl.Erythraean Sibyl. 1511. 1509.

.Libyan Sibyl. 1510. 1509. Cumaean Sibyl.

Prophet Jonah. .Prophets Amongst the sybils are the prophets from the Bible. who foretold the coming of Christ. 1511.

Prophet Zechariah. Prophet Jeremiah. . 1511. 1508-09.

Prophet Joel. . Prophet Ezekiel. 1509. 1510.

1511. Prophet Daniel. . 1509.Prophet Isaiah.

with figures painted on the spandrel and below are the ancestors of Christ painted on the lunette.Ancestors of Christ This is just of eight panels of the Ancestors of Christ. . Each of one is made up of the bronze ignudi at the top.

. This one tells the story of Judith and Holofernes. whose head was cut off by the Jewish heroine.The Pendentives On the four corners of the ceiling are paintings on the pendentives. Holofernes was sent by the Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar to punish the rebellious Israelites by destroying their city Bethulia.

Altar Wall The wall is dominated by single painting. The „Last Judgment‟ painted by Michelangelo. The painting is largely inspire by a Latin hymn and Dante‟s Inferno. . below is Christ the judge. It was painted some 24 years later. surrounded by groups of the Blessed. On the left the righteous rise toward the heaven and the damned being driven into the Underworld. At the top is instrument of Passion. in 1535 and it took about 6 years to complete. The painting is divided into several scenes or zones and organised into four tiers. It some 400 figures are on the painting. Below the trumpets of the Last Judgment.

The appearance of the demons of the Underworld shows his imagination was powerful as he ever been. The painting is full of energy. if Michelangelo is alive today. vitality and movements. He had never lost his sense of drama in telling the story. He started when his was in his mid-fifties.Last Judgement The Last Judgement is Michelangelo‟s best painting. It is almost an animation. He chose a multiview point composition. . I think he would be an animator. The ascend of the Blessed and the driving of the Damned into the Underworld is as good as his paintings on the ceiling.



St John the Baptist Christ & the Virgin .The Blessed.

.Christ the Judge.

St Peter with keys St Lawrence with his skin St Catherine St Sebastian The skin is a self-portrait of Michelangelo .




Is this a self portrait of Michelangelo? .


often criticized Michelangelo‟s work for the nude figures. with donkey‟s ears (stupid). Mino. a papal master of ceremonies. Have a closer look at what the green snake is biting. . So Michelangelo made him the Master of the Underworld.This is Baigio da Cesena (central figure on the painting on the right).

When the fresco was unveiled. The diagram above shows the areas that was repainted. It was left to Daniele da Volterra to cover the nudity with loin cloth and drapery. controversy raged about the nudity. . Thus Michelangelo‟s masterpiece had been censored.

animated painted figures. the legitimacy and the reasons for the existence of the Catholic Church. It was his most important painting commissions and it includes a very large proportion of his known paintings. so that believers would obey their injunction and thus reaffirms the religious power of the Catholicism. giant god-like figures modelled on contemporaries to make a timeless message. the frozen energetic movements and the dramatic story that he told. Then the paintings in the Sistine Chapel are symbols of power. showing humanity in all its guises and emotions. Michelangelo spent 10 years painting the Sistine Chapel – 4 years for the ceiling and 6 years for the „Last Judgment‟. . in particular at a time when the Catholic Church was challenged by the Protestant Reformation. Michelangelo greatest achievements of the Sistine Chapel lies in his imagination. even terror. Martin Luther posted his challenge to the Catholic in 1517. It also marks the apogee of Roman papal power and Italian artistic leadership of the world. It was as icon of its cultural supremacy and wealth. The frescoes were intended to inspire awe. They illustrate the great Christian legends as didactic and moral lessons. The Sistine chapel testifies Michelangelo's monumental vision. It is not possible to talk about the Sistine Chapel without discussing Michelangelo as a painter.Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Altogether.

All rights reserved. Available free for non-commercial and non-profit use only . Music – ‘Romeo and Juliet Are Wed’ composed by Nino Rota from the film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ directed by Federico Fellini.The End Michelangelo‟s self portrait.

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