Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and others. Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted 1,100 m2 (12,000 sq ft) of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. The ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment (1535–1541), is widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievement in painting.
Since the time of Sixtus IV, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected.
One of the primary functions of the Sistine Chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. On the occasion of a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel, from which smoke arises as a signal. If white smoke appears, created by burning the ballots of the election, a new Pope has been elected. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds majority, the cardinals send up black smoke—created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives—it means that no successful election has yet occurred.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 to repaint the vault, or ceiling, of the Chapel. It was originally painted as golden stars on a blue sky. The work was completed between 1508 and 2 November 1512. He painted the Last Judgment over the altar, between 1535 and 1541, on commission from Pope Paul III Farnese.
This virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel is incredible. Apparently done by Villanova at the request of the Vatican .
TO VIEW EVERY PART OF THE MICHELANGELO’S MASTERPIECE, JUST CLICK AND DRAG YOUR ARROW IN THE DIRECTION YOU WISH TO SEE.
In the lower left, click on the plus (+) to move closer, on the minus (-) to move away. Choir is thrown in free.
Quotes on Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel
“Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving.”
—Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 23 August 1787