The ceiling of the Sistine chapel

This Friday we took a virtual look at the Vatican to continue our course "Initiation into the Mysteries of Western Art" with Dr. Edward Clarke. We took a close look at one of the most delightful indoor paintings in the world - the Sistine Chapel.

Here are some exciting facts about this masterpiece:

Initially, before Michelangelo's painting, the vaulted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted blue and covered with gold stars. The walls were decorated with frescoes by a variety of artists, including Pietro Perugino, who painted Christ giving the keys to Saint Peter in 1482.

Before this work, Michelangelo became famous for his sculptures, but his brushwork was still underestimated at that time. When Michelangelo was working, he was in fact creating sculpture on surfaces - monumental figures that embody strength and beauty at the same time. Not bad for an artist who insisted that he was not an artist.

One of the premises's functions was to serve as a gathering place for the cardinals of the Catholic Church to elect a new Pope (the recent elections for Pope Francis in March 2013 were also held here).

To frame the central scenes of the Old Testament, Michelangelo painted fictional architectural modelling and supporting statues along the entire length of the chapel. They were painted in a grisaille color, giving them the appearance of concrete fixtures.

Would you like to learn more secrets about the world's key masterpieces? Learn to analyse works of art and understand their hidden meanings and stories behind their creation? Join us on Fridays!

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