Why you should visit the Sistine Chapel

There are many wondrous attractions to visit within Vatican City, so why choose the Sistine Chapel? It is one of Italy’s most cherished landmarks, with awe-inspiring art and a rich history. Listed as the largest chapel in the City, it is a testament to some of the most skilled artists in Italy’s past.

Sistine Chapel’s History

The chapel’s basic foundation was once the ancient Capella Magna. The renewal of this ancient building was commissioned in the 1470s by the Pope Sixtus IV. This is how the name Sistine, came to be, as they named it after the previous Pope. Numerous artists, including Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio, and Cosimo Roselli did the Chapel’s first paintings. Back during this time, the ceiling was not as we know it today, but a simple painting of the blue sky sprinkled with stars. Pope Julius II commissioned the extra embellishment in 1508. Commanding the famous artist, Michelangelo, to redo the ceiling in detail. This led to one of the most magnificent pieces of art in the world. The project lasted until 1512, and caused such a strain on Michelangelo, that it permanently damaged his eyesight.

The Architecture

While the artwork inside the building is undoubtedly why it is so popular, there is much to be said, for the architectural design as well. Architect Giovannino de Dolci was assigned the task to build this structure and created the three separate stories, and six-foot-high arched windows on each side of the building. Sadly, the chapel is the only work that Dolci is remembered for.

The Frescoes

Marvel at the incredible pieces of art covering the chapel’s walls and ceiling. Making that crick in your neck worth it after seeing the spectacular detail these ancient pieces display. The Sistine Chapel was both a success and a torment for Michelago. The original commission of the ceiling was to be of the Twelve Apostles, but Michelangelo soon dismissed this stating it would not be grand enough. Instead, he depicted three hundred figures, all coming together to illustrate Man’s time on earth before the coming of Jesus Christ. When it was first unveiled, there was an outcry due to a large number of nude figures shown in a holy chapel. Each section of the ceiling is covered, with different sections representing a part of the overall story. His other noteworthy piece is the Last Judgement, which Michelangelo didn’t start until 1535, well after his ceiling fresco. It is now one of their most recognisable paintings throughout the world, playing a significant for past and present artists around the world.

Check out our Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour today!

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