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The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is one of the most renowned artworks of the High Renaissance. The ceiling is that of the large Sistine Chapel built within the Vatican by Pope Sixtus IV, begun in 1477 and finished by 1480. The paintings on the ceiling represent Biblical stories about the Creation, Downfall and Salvation of Humankind. This gallery illustrates the main article at Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Along the centre of the ceiling are nine scenes depicting the Story of Creation, the Downfall of Humanity and the Story of Noah as told in the Book of Genesis.
Prophets and Sibyls
The Prophets of Israel and the Sibyls of the pagan world foretold the coming of the Messiah. Both have been included by Michelangelo as a sign that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was to come not just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles (non-Jewish people).
The four corner pendentives show violent episodes in which the People of Israel were rescued from enemies, or from their own sinful ways.
The ancestors of Jesus are listed in the Biblical books of Matthew and Luke. This is the first known large painted series, although they were often shown in stained glass. See Tree of Jesse. Although each picture has a title, the characters cannot be positively identified.
Above the windows are a series of families with young children. The children may represent particular children who are mentioned in the Bible, such as Isaac and Samuel. The composition of many of the pictures is similar to that found in depictions of the Holy Family resting on the Flight into Egypt.
The Ignudi which surround the narrative scenes may show the perfection of Humanity, or may represent angels. They were often imitated by other artists.
The shields represent violent episodes in the history of Israel.
- Massimo Giacometti , The Sistine Chapel, a collection of essays on aspects of the chapel, its decoration and the restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes, by Carlo Pietrangeli, André Chastel, John Shearman, John O'Malley S.J., Pierluigi de Vecchi, Michael Hirst, Fabrizio Mancinelli, Gianluigi Colallucci, and Franco Bernabei. 1984, Harmony Books ISBN 0-517-56274-X
- Gabriele Bartz and Eberhard König, Michelangelo, 1998, Könemann, ISBN 3-8290-0253-X
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