The Sistine Chapel is the sancta sanctorum of art saved by the Vatican. In St. Peter's Basilica or the Vatican Museums there are countless masterpieces of painting, sculpture, goldsmithing ... of any artistic discipline. But none is able to reach the level or fame of the Sistine Chapel, simply the most famous chapel in the world.
The Sistine Chapel: great work of MichelangeloVault of the Sistine Chapel
It is extraordinarily difficult to decide which is the best work of Miguel Ángel Buonarroti. He was an exceptional creator who made wonderful sculptures as his David or the Moses and that, at the same time, he became a great urbanist, designing in part the heart of the current St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.
And if it was not enough, He made wonderful pictorial works, almost all of them murals. But of all that work as a painter none reaches the quality of its frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.
Because of its volume, its location, the time it invested in it and the influence it has had throughout the history of art, the Sistine Chapel, perhaps, is the great work of Michelangelo.
In fact, It has become the metaphor or reference for any artistic creation. Notice when we write, for example, that the cave of Altamira is the 'Sistine Chapel' of rock art or when it was said that Miquel Barceló had painted the contemporary 'Sistine Chapel' at the UN headquarters of the Swiss city of Geneva.
What is the Sistine Chapel used for?Sistine Chapel
A little later we will talk about the mural paintings that Michelangelo made in the Sistine Chapel. But now we are going to tell you what this space is used for. The most common use you can imagine. It is one of the biggest attractions of the visit to the Vatican Museums.
An entry that It is accompanied by the tour of the basilica and that delights everyone who does it. The visit includes works of antiquity, as well as medieval creations and other Renaissance geniuses such as the great Raphael, among many other artists.
For everyone who visits the Vatican, one of the most anticipated moments is when he enters the Sistine Chapel. But it may happen that access is not allowed. If so, it is very possible that the Pope has passed away and all the cardinals have to choose the new Pontiff. The conclave meets precisely in the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo's two works in the Sistine Chapel
As we have advanced, we will now talk in a little more detail about Michelangelo's paintings. These are the result of two different moments of work. First, between 1508 and 1512 he made the frescoes of the vault. Meanwhile, the custom of the wall with The final judgement He received it in 1535. Let's see it over and over.
The vault'Adan creation'
In the vault of the Sistine Chapel, the artist paints various biblical episodes. To do this, an entire architecture is invented that compartmentalizes the space and that serves to frame the different scenes. There are the famous Adan creation or The expulsion from Paradise, in addition to other episodes like David against Goliath.
But more than the narration, the really impressive thing is how he has painted each and every one of those scenes. More than paintings, they look like sculptures because of the powerful anatomies they present. And, although we see the characters several tens of meters above our heads, the artist is able to transfer all the strength and vigor of these stories.
The final judgement'The final judgement'
More than 20 years after that artistic feat of youth, Michelangelo received a new assignment: to paint the head of the Sistine Chapel. And here, being a more mature artist, he decided not to compartmentalize the space and took advantage of the entire wall to recreate the most famous Final Judgment scene ever painted.
It was an impressive and revolutionary work in its time, among other things because originally the artist presented almost all the naked characters. In his view, this was a symbol of purity.
However, that to the high religious instances did not convince them and they eventually commissioned another painter to cover the sexual organs of the figures. And this is further proof that even the greatest artists in history and creations as great as the Sistine Chapel is, sometimes they can be misunderstood.