Who Created the Original Work of Art on the Ceiling of Sistine Chapel?
The Sistine Chapel is a large chapel within the Vatican in Rome, Italy. It is used by the Pope for papal conclaves and other important services and meetings. When it needed repairs in the early 1500s, Pope Julius II decided to commission Michelangelo to create an original work of art on its ceiling.
Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling took four years, finishing in 1512. Of all the scenes painted on the ceiling, the most famous is The Creation of Adam, which depicts the Biblical creation story. The outstretched fingers of God and Adam represent one of the most famous works of art in the world, rivaled only by Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
In total, the ceiling measured approximately 12,000 square feet! When the work was finished, Michelangelo had painted 343 figures on the ceiling. It was also painstaking work. The method he used was known as fresco, which involved applying paint to damp plaster. Contrary to what many people believe, Michelangelo did not lie on his back to paint the ceiling.
Instead, he devised his own scaffolding system that consisted of a wooden platform supported by brackets inserted into holes in the wall near the top of the windows. From his scaffold, Michelangelo could paint while standing. Nevertheless, it was still very uncomfortable to paint with his hands in the air and his head tilted upward constantly.