Renaissance Art & Artists
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Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

Sistine Chapel Panoramas View

Michelangelo began the momental task of painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1509 when he was just 33 years old. The painting was commissioned by Pope Julius II and was to depict the world just after the dawn of creation. Michelangelo divided the ceiling into three sections in order to have some kind of order to the multi-faceted theme of the work.

The lowest zone pictures Christ's ancestors burdened with mortal tasks like caring for children. The corners of the zone show heroic moments from the stories of David and Goliath, the hanging of Haman, Judith and Holofernes, and the brazen serpent. Symbols and divine prophets fill the second zone. The third zone runs down the center of the ceiling and is separated into nine panels that depict scenes from Genesis.

Michelangelo's work continued for four years as he lay on his back on scaffolds painting. The overarching theme he successfully conveys is that life is a journey of transitions between slavery within one's body and the liberation of reuniting with God. As the piece progressed Michelangelo grew more confident about his message and work. Figures grew larger and overlapped into the center scenes of Genesis.

The quantity of human subjects in the piece is staggering and has served as a model for human form for other artists since its creation. The work can be considered a High Renaissance cornerstone piece and is a definitive example of Michelangelo's extraordinary scope and skill as a master artist.

Masterpieces of Renaissance Art

  • The Mona Lisa
  • The Last Judgement
  • The Last Supper
  • David
  • The Vitruvian Man
  • Pieta
  • Sistine Chapel Ceiling
  • The Virgin and Child with St Anne
  • The Creation of Adam
  • Bacchus and Ariadne
  • David by Donatello
  • Galatea
  • Mars and Venus
  • Sacred and Profane Love
  • Sistine Madonna
  • The Assumption of the Virgin
  • The Bacchanal of the Andrians
  • The Birth of Venus
  • The School of Athens
  • Venus of Urbino
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