Monday, June 30, 2014

The Sistine Chapel

It's hard to fully appreciate Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel when one is there. It's so crowded, for one. (and by the way, they don't allow you to take pictures inside, so all of these are from the internet.)

Also, some of the key images -- like the Creation of Adam --  seem rather small way up on the ceiling, and craning one's neck to stare upwards starts to hurt.

We found that knowing some the context helped make it more interesting.  Our group most enjoyed learning of Michalangelo's act of revenge. Apparently, during the process of painting the chapel, a Vatican cardinal kept complaining about all the nude figures Michalangelo was painting, and suggested that Michelangelo's work was better suited for a tavern than the Vatican. So Michaelangelo painted him into his Last Judgement painting as one of the damned. And to add insult to injury, he made him naked. 

When the cardinal complained to the Pope about this, the Pope shrugged and said he had juridiction over heaven only, not hell, and thus the painting would have to remain.

We also like spotting Michelangelo's self-portraits. He painted himself as the head of Holofernes (which Judith cuts off in the Old Testament story.) Annie was the one who spied it in one of the ceiling panels.

Michaelangelo also painted his face on the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew, in the Last Judgement panel.

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