I drove to Charlotte on 6/26/2021 to attend Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel exhibit. I was amazed to view the life-size high definition reproduction of the ceiling frescoes up close. I had been to the Sistine Chapel many years ago but this exhibit provided an audio tour with in-depth interpretations of each fresco. I enjoyed learning of the artist’s intent behind each figure, color, position, composition and symbolism. When I visited the chapel before, I had no idea so much forethought had gone into painting each piece. I certainly developed a better appreciation for art in general and Michaelangelo’s in particular. The exhibit left me with a feeling of awe. It was a most enjoyable and educational experience.
The Sistine Chapel was restored around 1477. Famous artists painted the walls of the Chapel in the years around 1481, the likes of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Cosimo Rosselli. Pope Julius II commissioned MichaelAngelo Buonarroti to paint its ceiling in 1508-1512. MichaelAngelo had been an apprentice of Ghirlandaio . The ceiling is about 1/8th of an acre. It took MichaelAngelo 4 years to complete the project. At completion, the artist had painted over 300 figures!
The work got off to a slow start as the artist had never painted frescoes before and painting the ceiling was tricky due to its curvatures. A fresco is defined as “a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.”
In addition to the ceiling, Michaelangelo came back thirty years later to paint the magnificent Last Judgement on the altar wall, commissioned by pope Clement VII. Michaelangelo was 66 when he completed this piece.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born in Caprese, Italy in 1475. He was raised in Florence by a nanny as his mother died when he was only 6. A sculptor, painter and architect, he lived during the High Renaissance period. Though he considered himself a sculptor, he painted two of the most influential frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Wikipedia mentions that he is regarded by some as the greatest artist of all time. He died in February, 1564 leaving a prolific portfolio of awe-inspiring masterpieces.