Sistine Chapel

An incredible masterpiece in Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel is the most famous of all the artworks in Vatican City. It’s a must for art lovers, but even if you know nothing about art you will understand the quality of Michelangelo's masterpiece. And that of other, lesser-known artists.

The Sistine Chapel (or Cappella Sistina) is one of the many art treasures of the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The chapel was built between 1475 and 1483 on behalf of Pope Sixtus IV. The chapel was named after him.

Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

The creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo’s famous frescoes are considered to be the highlight of Italian Renaissance painting. The painting on the walls had already been awarded to other artists such as Cosimo Rosselli, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Pietro Perugino. Their assignment was to paint ten frescoes with scenes from the Old Testament.

Some of these are: The temptation of Jesus, the life of Moses, the Punishment of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Botticelli), Moses’ last acts and death (Signorelli), and the symbolic handing over of the keys to Peter (Perugino).

Some of these frescoes have been destroyed to make way for Michelangelo’s Last Judgment at the beginning of the 16th century. A large number of original frescoes can still be seen on the chapel’s walls. By the way, the Sistine Chapel is still being used. The cardinals go into this special place in conclave if a new pope is to be chosen.

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