Sistine Chapel

SISTINE CHAPEL, VATICAN, ROME — One of the most celebrated and important apartments in the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel, called thus from Pope Sixtus IV, who caused it to be built in 1473. It is a lofty hall about 150 feet in length, with a gallery on three sides. The upper part of its walls is ornamented with fresco, painted by famous artists of the fifteenth century, and also with many portraits of the Popes, twenty-eight of which are by the celebrated Botticelli. But that which gives to this chapel its greatest artistic value are the works of Michael Angelo which it contains. These are seen first upon the ceiling, which is covered with his magnificent pictorial representations of Old Testament scenes, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise, and the Deluge. Here also are portrayed in majestic proportions twelve seated figures of Prophets and Sibyls, which are among the most remarkable creations that Art has ever produced. At the end of the chapel, opposite the entrance, is Michael Angelo’s enormous fresco of the Last Judgment. This was designed by the great artist when sixty years old, and was completed by him in 1541 after a labor of nearly eight years. In order to show him his appreciation of the work, the Pope himself went to Michael Angelo’s house, accompanied by ten cardinals; which according to Court etiquette must rank as a greater honor than that offered to Titian by Charles V, when the latter picked up the artist’s pencil; although the REAL sovereign in both cases was the man of genius, This Sistine Chapel is used for important Papal ceremonies, especially during Holy Week. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)


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