The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

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    Sistine Chapel from St Peter's dome
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    Cappella Sistina (The Sistine Chapel)

    by Diana75 Written Feb 5, 2007

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    The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
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    Wanted by Pope Sisto IV della Rovere, which also gave it his name, was built by Giovannino de Dolci between 1475 and 1481.

    Perugino, Botticelli, Signorelli and Ghirlandaio contributed to the realization of the artificial draperies in the style of 1400 of the walls.

    The chapel was dedicated to the Lady of the Assumption and consecrated in 1483, but shortly after its modification was assigned to Michelangelo.

    Michelangelo painted new episodes extracted from the book of the Genesis:
    • Separation of light and darkness
    • The Creation of the stars and the plants
    • Separation of the land and water
    • Creation of Adam
    • Creation of Eva
    • Original sin and expulsion from the Earthly Paradise
    • Sacrifice of Noe
    • Universal Deluge
    • Ebriety of Noe

    The most important work of Michelangelo was completed in 1512, and Giulio II inaugurated a second time the Sistine Chapel with a solemn mass.

    In 1533 Michelangelo was again charged to modify the decoration of the Sistine Chapel by painting on the wall of the altar, at the place of some frescoes of Perugino, the Universal Judgment.

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    The roof of the Sistine Chapel

    by Diana75 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    The roof of the Sistine Chapel

    The Sistine Chapel is not only famous for the inside painting, but also for the roof.

    A small part of it can be seen on the right flank of the basilica and from here the famous puffs of smoke announce the decision of electing a new pope.

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    Sistine Chapel

    by Applelyn Updated Dec 10, 2006

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    A tour in the Vatican is not completed without a visit of Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is designed by Baccio Pontelli and built by Mino of Fiesole. It was named after Sixtus IV della Rovere as he had decided to built the chapel on the ground of the former "Cappella Magna" . He then dedicated it to Our Lady of Assumption. The room that you cant missed is the vault which was painted by Michelangelo. The last judgement is the painting cum room that you must see. While I was in the Chapel, I could not understand why people can just walked past these paintings so quickly and taking snapshots of everything and had understood pratically nothing. The place set me in awe and this feeling has not subsided. If only I could have the chapel for a day by myself so as to admire the artwork of the painters.

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    One of the highlights of Vatican City...

    by miso80 Written Oct 30, 2006

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    I visited the Sisting Chapel alone on my last day in Rome, I took the subway in the direction of the Ottaviano stop, and walked to the Vatican Museum. It was a cool October morning, and I had not had any breakfast so I decided to grab something along the way. Convenitently enough, right in front of the entrance to the Vatican Museum are kiosks or stands that sell pastries, coffee and drinks..as well as disposable cameras, postcards, etc. So..after realising that the queue into the museum was LOooonngG, I grabbed my snack and enjoyed the surroundings while waiting to get inside.

    I must say, aside from the view from St. Peter's dome, the highlight of Vatican City is the Sistine Chapel. One is NOT allowed to take use any flash to take pictures so as not to destroy the paint. This is shown clearly upon entrance to the museum, and on the walls of the sistine chapel..Also, there are people who's sole job has been dedicated to warning tourists to NEVER use the flash (and yes, they get paid for this!!). Nevertheless, you'll find the few odd tourists that ignore the warning, whisk out their cameras and flash away..oh well..

    The walls of this chapel carry it all however, with each wall telling its tale...from Moses to Judgement day...the colors, the detail captivate you and dazzle you. Michelangelo is a genuis.

    However, be ware of the long long loooooong queues, and the fact that you'll neck will ache from lifting your head up to watch the ceiling ;)

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    Michelangelo's Masterpiece

    by cckbp7 Written Aug 31, 2006
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    The Sistene Chapel was conpleted by Michelangelo in only a little over 2 years. Incredible! The scenes are even more amazing in person, even with the dozens and dozens of tourist that they pack into the chapel. Look for the Pope's secretary, who Michelangelo did not like, painted as the lord of the underworld with donkey ears. Also look for the Saint who is holding his own skin. Some believe that the face on the skin was a self portrait of Michelangelo.

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    .. with the paintings by Michelangelo

    by SiCkb0y Written Jun 7, 2006
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    The Sistine Chapel got its name from the Pope Sixtuts IV, as it was built in his time. The most remarkable part of the chapel is its ceiling, painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti - with the creation of man in the middle. Michelangelo also painted the Final Judgement over the altar of the chapel. Despite the announcements not to take any pictures (in 10 languages or so), everybody tries to take a good shot of the paintings (more or less secretly) :)

    Opening times:
    1 April - 31 October: 8.45-16.45
    1 November - 31 March: 8.45-13.45

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    The Drunkenness of Noah

    by Escadora7 Updated Nov 25, 2005

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    One peg too many?

    "And Noah began [to be] an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. Ham saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren who were without. And Shem and Japeth took a garment, and laid it out upon both their shoulders, and went backward, covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness." [Genesis 9:20-23]

    Once again Michelangelo neglected the chronological sequence of the entire Noahs sequence, for Noah's offering should have come directly after the flood, and then the drunkeness of Noah. Currently the panel displaying the offering is before the flood.

    Noah asleep and mocked by his sons is the last fresco that meets our eyes. It is said that Noahs sleep was due not to an overdose of wine but to human loss of spiritual memory; to the hypnotic sleep of man oblivious to his origin. The sons who stripped and ridiculed him do not know what they are doing and understand neither themselves nor their fate. The vat of wine in the centre dominates the entire scene.

    As a footnote, whoever said drinking shortens lives probably didnt read the Old Testament. Noah is said to have lived a total of nine hundred and fifty years. :P Hic Hic Hoorray!

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    The Flood

    by Escadora7 Updated Nov 25, 2005

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    A 40 day shower to wash you away!

    "And God said to Noah: 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; ... For in seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground ... And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth" [Genesis 6:5 - 7:20]

    How many times as kids have we heard the story of Noah and his ark? Well this scene depicts the flood in all its drama. Ever been in a shower for 40 days and nights? Well thats exactly what the artist was trying to capture here. The flood was considered to denote baptism, while the Ark was the symbol for the Church itself. Three different patterns of human behaviour are depicted here: the righteous take refuge in the Ark (the Church), the damned attempt to criticise it, and others are lost due to their excessive attachment to worldly things.

    In the foreground of the fresco, people seek to flee from the threat of the rising waters by crowding onto the rocky islet on the right or by wearily climbing up to the high ground on the left. Amazingly, this deluge seems to be a dry affair, with not much water around. Michelo has concentrated on the plight of the figures, not the destructive forces of nature. This lack, noticeable in many of Michelangelo's drawings is a logical one. He sees all passion and torment, all toil and victory in human terms; for him it is not the event itself which is decisive but its effect on those who experience it, expressed in movement and gestures.

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    The Sacrifice of Noah

    by Escadora7 Updated Nov 25, 2005

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    Time for a barbeque!

    Umm in case you were wondering, Michelangelo's family name was .. nopes not Pavrotti, but Buonarroti. (yeah a real tongue twister :P) and he died around 89 years of age in Rome. Anyways time to stop digressing, back to the topic in hand!

    "And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." [Genesis 8:20]

    This panel depicts a sacrifice, on an alter, giving thanks to the Lord for his salvation from the flood. In the centre of the background, Noah officiates the sacrifice wearing a blood-red tunic. The figures of the youth dragging the ram and the other taking out the intestines of the animals were painted by Domenico Carnevali around 1568, after the original figures were lost as a result of instability in the structure of the wall.

    The work of assistants has been detected in the figure of Noah's wife on his right, and also in the one of the youth on the left (looks more like a lass) who, lighting the fire under the altar with a torch, shields his face from the heat with his hand. The sons of Noah as two athletic attendants, can also be noticed in the painting, more prominent than their father in the background.

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    Silenzio!!

    by alisonr Written Nov 17, 2005

    This place was very unlike what I imagined. It was not round, which for some reason I thought it would be. It was not as light and luminous as I expected. As my husband put it - it is like an old town hall with the roof painted. He is an ass by the way!!!

    PROS- You finally have seen it and can now rest. And thank goodness for those lovely young men walking around saying SSSSHHHH and SILENZIO!! If not, the whole place would turn into a calamity!

    CONS - Thank goodness for the benches around the edge of the Sistine Chapel! Your neck certainly gets a workout!

    The funniest thing that I heard about 3 times during our visit, was that because Michealangelo worked so close to the ceiling, he didn't get to see the painting in its entirity until it was finished - OF COURSE HE BLOODY DIDN'T - IT WASN'T FINISHED!!!

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    Creation of Eve

    by Escadora7 Updated Sep 17, 2005

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    Can you spare a rib?

    "And the God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs...And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman..."

    According to the bible, God created man from the dust of the ground, then blew the breath of life into his body. Eve on the other hand was made from a rib of Adam, and that is the reason to this day there is a misconception that the man has one rib less than the woman, the truth being both share an equal number of ribs viz. 24. :)

    In this panel, the Creator seems to have an intense gaze, and Eve appears to rise from the rocks behind Adam rather than from his body, extending her joint hands. The bodies of the couple appear to be those of adolescents. More is indicated here than mere physical creation: it is the concept of the female mirror-image drawn forth from the sleeping Adam.

    I had read somewhere that the portraits of God as athletic, muscular, flowing beard and dominant are taken from the image of Zeus, the greek mythological God, but have found no further documents that backed this theory. If any of you have any good sites, please feel free to write in.

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    The Ceiling

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 31, 2005

    Michelangelo frescoed the ceiling for Pope Julius II between 1508 and 1512, working on specially designed scaffolding. The main panels, which chart the Creation of the World and Fall of Man are surrounded by subjects from the Old and New Testaments.

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    The Last Judgment

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 31, 2005

    Considered to be the masterpiece of Michelangelo's mature years, the Last Judgment was commissioned by Pope Paul III Farnese in 1543. A new wall was erected which slanted inwards to stop dust settling on it. Michelangelo worked alone on the frescoe for seven years until it's completion in 1541. The painting depicts the souls of the dead rising up to face the wrath of God. The pope chose it as a warning to Catholics to adhere to their faith in the turmoil of the Reformation.

    The 12 paintings on the side walls, by artists including Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli and Signorelli, show parallel episodes from the life of Moses and of Christ.

    Photo's are not allowed inside but people do sneakily take them (me included!) as the surrounding are just shear magic. I was told by an American gentlemen that the reason behind this was that the Japanese had soul image rights as they paid for the restoration work in 1992/3. How true this is, I don't know.

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    The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden

    by Escadora7 Updated Jul 8, 2005

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    The first out-standing (out-going?) christians :)

    "The serpent said to the woman: 'Did God say: 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?'. And the woman said to the serpent: 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die'. But the serpent said to the woman: 'You will not die! ... you will be like God, knowing good and evil'. So the woman ... took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband.....The Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden ... he drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life" [Genesis 3:1-24]

    In the 6th central panel, Michelangelo illustrates simultaneously Original Sin and the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, two moments that are separated in the bible tale, thus showing together the cause and the effect generated.

    The two episodes are separated by the tree of good and evil, around which the female temptress is wrapped. She is offering the forbidden fruit to Eve.

    On the other side of the panel the couple, hunted by an angel with an unsheathed sword, leave the Garden of Eden, pained and bent under the burden of remorse for the sin committed.

    It is wondered whether the tree which forms a giant M, was intended to be Michelangelo's signature. To the left of the frescoe, the Garden of Eden indicates excess while to the right, total desolation.

    What's more striking is that that the cherub with the raised sword pointing the way out, appears a twin of the tempter and, like her, comes from the Tree of Life. Good and Evil have divided and become a dual power.

    [Definition ~
    Cherub = A representation of a small angel, portrayed as a child with a chubby rosy face.]

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    Creation of Adam

    by Escadora7 Updated Jul 8, 2005

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    Let there be man?

    "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth... So God created man in his [own] image..." [Genesis 1:26-27]

    The fourth scene in the chronological order of the narrative, the Creation of Adam, is depicted in this masterpiece of Michelangelo's work. The focal point of the episode of the Creation of man is the contact between the fingers of the Creator and those of Adam, through which the breath of life is transmitted. God, supported by angels on their wings, in flight and wrapped in a mantle, leans towards Adam, shown as a resting athlete, whose beauty seems to confirm the words of the Old Testament, according to which man was created to the image and likeness of God. Michelangelo's sculptural geniuity coming through in his painting?

    God seems to be encouraging Adam to be no less than himself in this painting and has his left arms encircled around a feminine being. This figure has intrigued commentators from the beginning and has been variously interpreted as the uncreated Eve, or Sophia, divine wisdom.

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