Sistine Chapel - Home To Michelangelo's The Last Judgement

The Sistine Chapel is situated in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, and is located within the Vatican Museums. Access to the Sistine Chapel is included with your Vatican Museum tickets. When you visit the Vatican Museums and its 54 galleries, the Sistine Chapel will notably be the last room you visit and also the most brilliant. The Sistine Chapel was built between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV and is named after him as well. Painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are considered to be a cornerstone of Renaissance art.

The Sistine Chapel is undoubtedly the highlight of every Vatican Museum visit. You will instantly know when you’re in the Sistine Chapel as the room gets extremely quiet and everyone inside can be found looking up, staring at the magnificent ceiling. Michelangelo’s frescoes adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, with paintings depicting stories from the life Jesus and Moses painted on the eastern, northern and southern walls.

Sistine Chapel Highlights

The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 under the commission of Pope Julius II. Originally painted as golden stars on a blue sky, Michelangelo worked on the ceiling to convert it into one of the most famous works of art in the world. Michelangelo commenced the enormous undertaking after he built himself a scaffold to reach the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Over 40 scenes were painted onto the ceiling in the span of 4 years depicting the stories of Creation, the creation and downfall of Adam and Eve, three stories of Noah, ancestors of Jesus, the twelve Prophets and Sibyls.

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling

The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 under the commission of Pope Julius II. Originally painted as golden stars on a blue sky, Michelangelo worked on the ceiling to convert it into one of the most famous works of art in the world. Michelangelo commenced the enormous undertaking after he built himself a scaffold to reach the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Over 40 scenes were painted onto the ceiling in the span of 4 years depicting the stories of Creation, the creation and downfall of Adam and Eve, three stories of Noah, ancestors of Jesus, the twelve Prophets and Sibyls.

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement is probably the most famous single work of art in the Sistine Chapel. Covering the entire wall behind the altar, The Last Judgement was painted by Michelangelo from 1535 to 1541. The Last Judgement depicts the second coming of Christ on the Day of Judgment and is based on the 20th chapter of the Revelation of John. A heroic image of Jesus occupies the center of the wall with saints and prophets surrounding him while the common folk are painted at the bottom of the wall. The painting is one of a kind in terms of its symbolism and size and has to be seen in person for to truly feel its glory.

The Southern Wall

The southern wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the Stories of Moses. Painted in 1481-1482, some of the famous frescoes on the southern wall are:
• Moses Leaving to Egypt
• The Trials of Moses
• The Crossing of the Red Sea
• Descent from Mount Sinai
• Punishment of the Rebels
• Testament and Death of Moses

The Northern Wall

The northern wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the Stories of Jesus. Painted in 1481-1482, some of the famous frescoes on the northern wall are:
• Baptism of Christ
• Temptation of Christ
• Vocation of the Apostles
• The Sermon on the Mount
• The Delivery of the Keys
• The Last Supper

The Eastern Wall

The Eastern Wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the following frescoes painted in 1572-74:
• Resurrection of Christ
• Disputation over Moses' Body

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