Michelangelo and the Popes Ceiling by Ross KingIn 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter (though famed for his sculpture David), Michelangelo was reluctant to begin the massive project.
Michelangelo and the Popes Ceiling recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, the popes impatience, and a bitter rivalry with the brilliant young painter Raphael, Michelangelo created scenes so beautiful that they are considered one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this great work-from the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus to the young Martin Luther-and Ross King skillfully weaves them through his compelling historical narrative, offering uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history.
The Sistine Chapel’s Unwilling Artist
Along with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo is praised as one of the greatest artists of the High Renaissance. He was a prodigy who excelled in architecture, sculpture, painting and even poetry. Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra. He lived in Florence, and his father was initially reluctant to allow him to pursue the career of an artist. Still, at the age of 13, he became an apprentice of the famous painter Domenico Ghirlandaio.
He thought of himself as a sculptor, not a painter. For one thing, he was in the middle of another project for Pope Julius: Carving him a massive marble tomb. The chapel would be a distraction! Also, uh… he had never actually painted a fresco before. So Michelangelo did — with difficulty. He stood on special platforms attached to the walls.
This week back in , Michelangelo's glorious frescoes on the ceiling of paint frescoes on all 5, square feet of the Sistine Chapel ceiling — The Which forced him to contort his body for hours at a time, his brush held.
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For one thing, he considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter, and he had no experience whatsoever with frescoes. He also had his heart set on finishing the tomb, even as funding for the project dwindled. Nevertheless, Michelangelo reluctantly accepted the commission, spending four years of his life perched on scaffolding with his brush in hand.
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The Sistine Chapel is a large chapel in the Vatican City. It is renowned for its Renaissance art, especially the ceiling painted by Michelangelo, and attracts more than 5 million visitors each year. The Sistine Chapel stands on the foundation of an older chapel called the Capella Magna. In , Pope Sixtus IV instigated a rebuilding of the chapel, which was then named for him. The chapel is Pope Sixtus IV commissioned celebrated painters, including Botticelli and Rosselli, to decorate the chapel. He commanded artist Michelangelo to do it.