Michelangelo Buonarotti is one of the great symbols of Renaissance. His works of art in sculpture, painting and architecture made him the greatest artist of his time and to this day, he is still considered one of the greatest artists that ever lived.
To understand Michelangelo, we must see some of his main works and for this, we need to go to Rome.
Before we talk about his contribution to painting and in particular about the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement, we have to see how can we enter the Vatican Museums.
To enter the museums is not very easy. We must not forget these museums are among the most visited touristic objectives in Europe. Therefore, it is very possible that you will find a long queue at the entrance, which sometimes goes all the way to St. Peter’s Square. That is why the easiest way to access the museums (and the Colosseum) is to buy the ticket online, print it and at the hour you have chosen, to be with it in front of the entrance.
Access this location to buy the ticket:
When you arrive there and see the long queue outside, you will be happy that you already have a ticket.
The work at the Sistine Chapel took 4 years, between 1508-1512. Initially, he should have painted the 12 apostles, but he provided a more complex design representing the Creation, the Fall from Paradise and the Promise of Salvation through the prophets in the Bible. The work represents the dogma of the Catholic Church. The main scenes are the Creation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Heaven and the Great Flood.
Michelangelo returns to the Sistine Chapel after 20 years, between 1535 and 1541, to continue working at the Last Judgement, which is painted on the wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. This work depicts the Second coming of Jesus and the Apocalipse, where the souls of men are judged by Jesus.
When the work was finished, the appearance of Jesus and Virgin Mary naked created a big scandal inside the church. After Michelangelo died, it was decided that the genitals of the characters to be covered. When the Last Judgement was restored in 1993, some paintings were left covered to illustrate the historical changes that occured on the fresco.
Michelangelo in Rafael’s vision
Rafael worked on his famous frescoes at the same time with Michelangelo, who worked in the Sistine Chapel.
One of the rooms is Sala di Costantino (Hall of Constantine) and presents the emperor Constantin’s vision before the great battle with Maxentius, battle which was going to decide the name of the emperor for the western part of the Roman Empire. In the hall we can see the vision of the cross in the sky, sign by which Constantin is assured of the divine intervention. The battle Constantin won becomes a symbol for the victory of Christianity against the pagan world and the following conquest of the Roman Empire.
A different room presents the School of Athens, probably the most famous work by Rafael, which celebrates the truth based on reason by the ancient thinkers, with Plato and Aristotle at the center.
The fresco is important for us because some people say the figure at the left belongs to Michelangelo, added after Rafael saw the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
If we take a look at the fresco, we notice the difference between the clothes worn by Michelangelo, dressed in medieval clothes, and the other characters, dressed in clothes typical for the Ancient Greece.