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Daily History

November 1 1512 Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public


On November 1st 1512, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s finest works, was exhibited to the public for the first time.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese in 1475.

The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a centre of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13.

Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts.

After demonstrating his mastery of sculpture in such works as the Pieta (1498) and David (1504), he was called to Rome in 1508 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the chief consecrated space in the Vatican.

Michelangelo’s epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works.

Central in a complex system of decoration featuring numerous figures are nine panels devoted to biblical world history.

The most famous of these is The Creation of Adam, a painting in which the arms of God and Adam are stretching toward each other. In 1512, Michelangelo completed the work.

After 15 years as an architect in Florence, Michelangelo returned to Rome in 1534, where he would work and live for the rest of his life.

That year saw his painting of the The Last Judgment on the wall above the altar in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul III.

The massive painting depicts Christ’s damnation of sinners and blessing of the virtuous and is regarded as a masterpiece of early Mannerism.

Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost.

In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe’s greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music.

This Day In History
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “November 1 1512 Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public

  1. The first time I saw the Sistine Chapel ceiling, I was laying on the stone floor of the chapel, gazing up at it, with tears flowing down my cheeks. There are no words to describe that moment of grace.

    Posted by Kat | November 1, 2012, 00:58
  2. Thank you, Craig!

    Posted by Amy | November 1, 2012, 01:43
  3. This is awesome, and how I wish I could see it for real….

    Posted by manikani2d | November 3, 2012, 22:46

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Women artists: Sofonisba Anguissola | Dear Kitty. Some blog - November 2, 2012

  2. Pingback: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~Michelangelo Buonarroti « Michael Wilson's Blog - December 8, 2012

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