The Vatican Visit— Part Four

No matter how you cut it, the Sistine Chapel is one of the great frescoes of all time. Yes, Michelangelo nicked some ideas from Signorelli’s Apocalypse Chapel in Orvieto. But still the execution of this amazing masterpiece is stunning. Imagine lying on your back for days at a time doing this one little square at a time. And if you understand the process of fresco, it’s like painting on wet plaster… check that, it is painting on wet plaster of a sort. Check the Agony and the Ecstasy biopic on Mr. M.

Now I’ve done the Sistine Chapel before, but not like this. Not when it wasn’t mobbed with thousands of camera clicking tourists. This was something special, and Yuliya and I savored every minute of it. Most are used to staring at the last judgment seen on the near wall, but there is so much more to the Sistine Chapel than that.


Thankfully, they have now installed benches all around the perimeter where one can sit and admire the artist’s master work.

What is less well known is the scenes: 1) from the Bible, and 2) from Apocryphal literature which cover the ceiling and the upper right and left hand walls. For example here is a shot of some prophets and notable Biblical and extra-Biblical figures…

See Susanna above. So we have both prophets and prophetesses in Michelangelo’s tableau. On the back wall of the Sistine Chapel we have what can be called Last Redemption, the counterpart to Last Judgment.

Note the scene of resurrection in the large left hand panel. All in all, the Sistine Chapel is one of the three or four greatest masterworks of art in the world. Hope ya’ll all get to see it in all its refurbished glory as we did.

And, save your best judgment for the last judgment…..:) After all, you’ll be there someday.

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