Sistine Chapel ceiling

The interior of the Sistine Chapel showing the ceiling in relation to the other frescoes. Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam is near the top of the photo.
The ceiling as it may have looked before Michelangelo painted it
Hypothetical reconstruction of the first project for the tomb of Julius II (1505) according to an interpretation by Adriano Marinazzo (2018).
Comparison between Michelangelo's sketch of the Sistine ceiling's architectural outline (Archivio Buonarroti, XIII, 175v) and a view from below of the ceiling. Comparison by Adriano Marinazzo (2013).
Detail showing intersection of first and second registers, with: a prophet, a lunette, a sibyl, ignudi, medallions, bronze figures, and telamones.
Detail from The Creation of Adam, portraying the creation of mankind by God. The two index fingers are separated by a small gap [3/4 in]: some scholars think that it represents the unattainability of divine perfection by man
The mark of the scaffolding used for painting the ceiling is evident on the lower right of this lunette.
The evidence of the plaster laid for a day's work can be seen around the head and arm of this ignudo.
View of the Chapel's west end from beside the door.
Detail of the ceiling's west end, showing pendentives and the Prophet Zechariah
God dividing the waters, showing the illusionary architecture, and the positions of the ignudi and medallions
Detail of The Idol of Baal, showing the linear use of black paint and gold leaf defining forms
The Prophet Isaiah
The Prophet Joel
The Libyan Sibyl
The Persian Sibyl
The composition of this spandrel is similar to a Flight into Egypt.
The lunette of Jacob and his son Joseph, the husband of Mary. The suspicious old man may represent Joseph.
Detail of the Eleazar and Mathan lunette
This figure is one of the most reproduced on the ceiling.
Raphael's The Prophet Isaiah was painted in imitation of Michelangelo's prophets.

Cornerstone work of High Renaissance art.

- Sistine Chapel ceiling

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The Last Judgment (Michelangelo)

Fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Michelangelo covering the whole altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

Mary and Christ
The central group around Christ
A group of the Saved
The damned in the air
The Last Judgment at the end of the chapel
Charon and his boat of damned souls
The Resurrection of the Dead
Group of the damned, with Biagio da Cesena as Minos at right
1549 copy of the still unretouched mural by Marcello Venusti (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples).
Marcello Venusti's copy; detail showing an uncensored version of Saint Catherine at the bottom left and Saint Blaise above her with a different head position
Daniele da Volterra's repainted versions of Saint Catherine and Saint Blaise
Angels at the top left, one with the Crown of Thorns
Saint Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin, with the face of Michelangelo
The chapel in use in 1582; note the cloth over the altar
Angels, trumpeting, and one with the Book of Life
Saint Peter with his keys
The damned soul alone
The Cross upon which Christ was crucified, top left
The pillar on which Christ was flogged, top right

Michelangelo began working on it 25 years after having finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and was nearly 67 at its completion.

The Creation of Adam

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; the work took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512)
God (right) is depicted as a white-bearded man

The Creation of Adam (Creazione di Adamo) is a fresco painting by Italian artist Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, painted c. 1508–1512.

Nude (art)

Enduring tradition in Western art.

David (1504)
"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?"
— Michelangelo
Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos (1808–1812) by John Vanderlyn. The painting was initially considered too sexual for display in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "Although nudity in art was publicly protested by Americans, Vanderlyn observed that they would pay to see pictures of which they disapproved."
The Venus of Willendorf (made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE)
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1484–1486
This year Venuses again... always Venuses!... (1864) by Daumier
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995)
"I paint people, not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be."
– Lucian Freud
A Nude Boy on a Beach (1878) by John Singer Sargent
Susanna and the Elders, 1610, Artemisia Gentileschi. This work may be compared with male depictions of the same tale.
The Barricade (1918), oil on canvas, by George Bellows. A painting inspired by an incident in August 1914 in which German soldiers used Belgian townspeople as human shields.
Crayon-style print by Gilles Demarteau with a nude man after original drawing by Edmé Bouchardon was acquired by Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw as a teaching material
David (1504)
"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?"
— Michelangelo

Nudes in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling reestablished a tradition of male nudes in depictions of Biblical stories; the subject of the martyrdom of the near-naked Saint Sebastian had already become highly popular.


Half-moon shaped architectural space, variously filled with sculpture, painted, glazed, filled with recessed masonry, or void.

Lunette over the main door of the Luxembourg Palace in Paris
Charles Sprague Pearce, Rest (1896). Mural in a lunette in the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Villa La Petraia in lunette form by Giusto Utens

The lunettes in the structure of the Sistine Chapel ceiling inspired Michelangelo to come up with inventive compositions for the spaces.

Raphael Cartoons

The Raphael Cartoons are seven large cartoons for tapestries, belonging to the British Royal Collection but since 1865 on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, designed by the High Renaissance painter Raphael in 1515–16 and showing scenes from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles.

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes
St Paul Preaching in Athens
A rare display of the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel, 2011
Christ's Charge to Peter
The Death of Ananias
The same scene in the Vatican tapestry
The Healing of the Lame Man
The Conversion of the Proconsul
The Sacrifice at Lystra
Death of Ananias, chiaroscuro woodcut in three blocks by Ugo da Carpi, 1518 (state without the copyright inscription).
Marcantonio Raimondi, Saint Paul preaching in Athens, Italian engraving, before 1520. Copied from a preparatory drawing.
Stoning of Saint Stephen, Mantua
Conversion of Saint Paul, Vatican
St Paul in prison, Vatican

They are the only surviving members of a set of ten cartoons commissioned by Pope Leo X for the Sistine Chapel tapestries for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace, which are still (on special occasions) hung below Michelangelo's famous ceiling.

Sandro Botticelli

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (c.

Probable self-portrait of Botticelli, in his Adoration of the Magi (1475).
Detail from Botticelli's most famous work, The Birth of Venus (c. 1484–1486)
Via Borgo Ognissanti in 2008, with the eponymous church halfway down on the right. Like the street, it has had a Baroque makeover since Botticelli's time.
Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist, c. 1470–1475, Louvre
Adoration of the Magi, 1475, 111 cm × 134 cm (44 in × 53 in)
Youth of Moses, Sistine Chapel
Punishment of the Sons of Corah, Sistine Chapel
Primavera (c. 1482), icon of the springtime renewal of the Florentine Renaissance. Left to right: Mercury, the Three Graces, Venus, Flora, Chloris, Zephyrus
The Birth of Venus, c. 1485. Uffizi, Florence
Venus and Mars, c. 1485, tempera on panel, 69 x, National Gallery, London
The Bardi Altarpiece, 1484–85, 185 x 180 cm
San Barnaba Altarpiece, c. 1487, Uffizi, 268 x 280 cm
Lamentation of Christ, early 1490s, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
Magnificat Madonna, c. 1483
Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo the Elder, 1474; the medal is an inserted gesso cast of a real medal.
Engraving by Baccio Baldini after Botticelli
One of the few fully coloured pages of the Divine Comedy Illustrated by Botticelli, illustrating canto XVIII in the eighth circle of Hell. Dante and Virgil descending through the ten chasms of the circle via a ridge.
Pallas and the Centaur, c. 1482. Uffizi, Florence.
Calumny of Apelles (c. 1494–95). Uffizi, Florence.
The Story of Lucretia, c. 1500. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Mystical Nativity (c. 1500–01) National Gallery, London.
Madonna of the Pomegranate (Madonna della Melagrana), c. 1487
Portrait, probably imagined, of Botticelli from Vasari's Life
Madonna of the Book, c.1480–3.
Sacra conversazione altarpiece, c. 1470-72, Uffizi, called the Pala di Sant'Ambrogio
St. Sebastian, 1474
Madonna with Lilies and Eight Angels, c. 1478
Fresco Saint Augustine, Ognissanti, 1480
San Marco Altarpiece, c. 1490-93, 378 x 258 cm, Uffizi
Cestello Annunciation, 1489–90, 150 x 156 cm, Uffizi
Lamentation over the Dead Christ, Milan
Pala delle Convertite, c. 1491-93, Courtauld Gallery, London
Young Man, Pitti Palace, perhaps 1470-73.
Portrait of a Lady Known as Smeralda Brandini, 1470s, shown as pregnant.
Giuliano de' Medici, who was assassinated in the Pazzi conspiracy. Several versions, all perhaps posthumous.<ref>The evidence for this identification is in fact slender to non-existent. Ettlingers, 168; Legouix, 64</ref>
Portrait of a young man holding a roundel c. 1480–1485
Portrait of a Young Man c. 1480-1485.<ref>Davies, 98-99</ref>
Portrait of a Young Man c. 1482-1485
Portrait of a young woman, possibly Simonetta Vespucci, 1484. The Roman engraved gem on her necklace was owned by Lorenzo de’ Medici.
La Bella Simonetta , also said to be of Simonetta Vespucci, c. 1480–1485
Dante Alighieri, c. 1495
Purgatory X (10)
Purgatorio XVII
Purgatorio XXXI
Canto XXX
Canto XXXI
The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child, 1490
Annunciation, c. 1490
The Outcast (Despair), c. 1496
Mystic Crucifixion, Fogg Art Museum

Botticelli's contribution included three of the original fourteen large scenes: the Temptations of Christ, Youth of Moses and Punishment of the Sons of Corah (or various other titles), as well as several of the imagined portraits of popes in the level above, and paintings of unknown subjects in the lunettes above, where Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling now is.

Domenico Ghirlandaio

Italian Renaissance painter born in Florence.

Considered a self-portrait from Adoration of the Magi, 1488
Pope Gregory announces the death of Santa Fina, in the Collegiate Church of San Gimignano (about 1477)
The Adoration of the Shepherds, Sassetti Chapel, containing a portrait of Ghirlandaio as one of the Shepherds
The Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule from the Sassetti Chapel, with portraits of Lorenzo de' Medici and his family occupying prominent positions as spectators to the event
Detail of the Angel appearing to Zacharias showing portraits of the philosophers Marsilio Ficino, Cristoforo Landino, Angelo Poliziano and Demetrios Chalkondyles
Visitation, circa 1491
The Birth of Mary, Tornabuoni Chapel (1485-90), appears to represent a domestic scene from the life of contemporary Florentine nobility

Although Michelangelo regarded himself as primarily a sculptor, in the sixteenth century he was to follow his master as a painter of frescos, at the Sistine Chapel.


Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance.

Raphael, The School of Athens
Giovanni Santi, Raphael's father; Christ supported by two angels, c.1490
Portrait of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino from 1482 to 1508, c. 1507. (Uffizi Gallery)
Madonna of the Pinks, c. 1506–07, National Gallery, London
The Parnassus, 1511, Stanza della Segnatura
Palazzo Branconio dell'Aquila, now destroyed
View of the Chigi Chapel
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, 1515, one of the seven remaining Raphael Cartoons for tapestries for the Sistine Chapel (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Lucretia, engraved by Raimondi after a drawing by Raphael
La Fornarina, Raphael's mistress
Sistine Madonna (1512)
Raphael and Maria Bibbiena's tomb in the Pantheon. The Madonna is by Lorenzetto.
Raphael's sarcophagus
The Mond Crucifixion, 1502–03, very much in the style of Perugino (National Gallery)
The Coronation of the Virgin 1502–03 (Pinacoteca Vaticana)
The Wedding of the Virgin, Raphael's most sophisticated altarpiece of this period (Pinacoteca di Brera)
Saint George and the Dragon, a small work (29 x 21 cm) for the court of Urbino (Louvre)
The Ansidei Madonna, c. 1505, beginning to move on from Perugino
The Madonna of the Meadow, c. 1506, using Leonardo's pyramidal composition for subjects of the Holy Family.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Image | |url-status=dead |archive-url= |archive-date=March 14, 2012 }}</ref>
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1507, possibly echoes the pose of Leonardo's Leda
Deposition of Christ, 1507, drawing from Roman sarcophagi
Stanza della Segnatura
The Mass at Bolsena, 1514, Stanza di Eliodoro
Deliverance of Saint Peter, 1514, Stanza di Eliodoro
The Fire in the Borgo, 1514, Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo, painted by the workshop to Raphael's design
Triumph of Galatea, 1512, his only major classical mythological subject, for Chigi's villa (Villa Farnesina)
Il Spasimo, 1517, brings a new degree of expressiveness to his art (Museo del Prado)
The Holy Family, 1518 (Louvre)
Transfiguration, 1520, unfinished at his death (Pinacoteca Vaticana)
Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga, c. 1504
Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, {{circa|1509-1511}}
Portrait of Pope Julius II, c. 1512
Portrait of Bindo Altoviti, c. 1514
Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, c. 1515
Young Man Carrying an Old Man on His Back, c. 1514
Study for La Belle Jardinière
Nude Studies, 1515
Marriage of Alexander and Roxana. Study for Villa Farnesina
Red chalk study for the Villa Farnesina Three Graces
Sheet with study for the Alba Madonna and other sketches
Developing the composition for a Madonna and Child
Study for soldiers in this Resurrection of Christ, c. 1500
The Massacre of the Innocents, engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi from a design by Raphael.{{efn|The bridge in the background is the Pons Fabricius.{{sfn|Salmi et al.|1969|p=579}}}} First state, "without fir tree"
Judgement of Paris, still influencing Manet, who used the seated group in his most famous work.
Galatea, engraving after the fresco in the Villa Farnesina
Probable self-portrait drawing by Raphael in his teens
Self-portrait, Raphael in the background, from The School of Athens
Portrait of a Young Man, 1514, lost during the Second World War. Possible self-portrait by Raphael
Possible Self-portrait with a friend, c. 1518

Michelangelo, meanwhile, had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.


Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance.

Portrait by Daniele da Volterra, c. undefined 1545
The Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492)
Pietà, St Peter's Basilica (1498–99)
The Statue of David, completed by Michelangelo in 1504, is one of the most renowned works of the Renaissance.
Tomb of Julius II, 1505–1545
Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; the work took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512)
The Last Judgment (1534–1541)
The dome of St Peter's Basilica
Ignudo fresco from 1509 on the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Michelangelo, drawn from sight by Francisco de Holanda in the late 1530s.
The Punishment of Tityus, gift to Tommaso dei Cavalieri, c. 1532
The Sistine Chapel Ceiling (1508–1512)
Tomb of Michelangelo (1578) by Giorgio Vasari in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence.
The Taddei Tondo (1502)
Madonna and Child. Bruges, Belgium (1504)
The Doni Tondo (1504–1506)
Angel by Michelangelo, early work (1494–95)
Bacchus by Michelangelo, early work (1496–1497)
Dying Slave, Louvre (1513)
Atlas Slave (1530–1534)
The Drunkenness of Noah
The Deluge (detail)
The Creation of Adam (1510)
The First Day of Creation
Studies for The Libyan Sibyl
 The Libyan Sibyl (1511)
The Prophet Jeremiah (1511)
Battle of the Centaurs (1492)
Copy of the lost Battle of Cascina by Bastiano da Sangallo
The Last Judgment, detail of the Redeemed. (see whole image above)
The Crucifixion of St. Peter
The vestibule of the Laurentian Library has Mannerist features which challenge the Classical order of Brunelleschi's adjacent church.
Michelangelo's redesign of the ancient Capitoline Hill included a complex spiralling pavement with a star at its centre.
Michelangelo's design for St Peter's is both massive and contained, with the corners between the apsidal arms of the Greek Cross filled by square projections.
The exterior is surrounded by a giant order of pilasters supporting a continuous cornice. Four small cupolas cluster around the dome.
Design for a window in the Palazzo Farnese.
Second design for wall tomb of Pope Julius II
Self-portrait of the artist as Nicodemus
Statue of Victory (1534), Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
The Pietà of Vittoria Colonna (c. 1540)
The Rondanini Pietà (1552–1564)
The Doni Tondo (1504–1506)

Despite holding a low opinion of painting, he also created two of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and The Last Judgment on its altar wall.

Sistine Chapel

Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City and the official residence of the pope.

East side of the Chapel, from the altar end.
The Sistine Chapel as it may have appeared in the 15th century (19th-century drawing)
Sistine Chapel in 2017
Exterior of the Sistine Chapel
A reconstruction of the appearance of the west Wall chapel in the 1480s, prior to the painting of the ceiling
Drawing by Pinturicchio of Perugino's lost Assumption in the Sistine Chapel.
Raphael tapestries in the Sistine Chapel
Diagram of part of the vertical fresco decoration of the Sistine Chapel
Trials of Moses by Botticelli
The Delivery of the Keys by Perugino
Resurrection of Christ
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Comparison between Michelangelo's sketch of the Sistine ceiling's architectural outline (Archivio Buonarroti, XIII, 175v) and a view from below of the ceiling. Comparison by Adriano Marinazzo (2013).
A section of the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Daniel, before and after restoration.
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5:1–11)This cartoon depicts Christ telling Peter and the Apostles where to cast their net. This resulted in the “miraculous catch.” Within the design, Peter is pictured bowing before Christ as if thanking him for the harvest full bounty that was caught. Raphael’s exquisite attention to details are shown in this tapestry in how there is a mirror image of the artwork reflected in the water. There is a great use of foreshortening.  His use of perspective in the distant background is used effectively. Raphael demonstrates an excellent use of tones in the forefront of the image.<ref>{{Cite web|last=Museum|first=Victoria and Albert|title=The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5: 1-11) {{!}} Raphael {{!}} V&A Explore The Collections|url=|access-date=2022-02-11|website=Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections|language=en}}</ref>
Christ's Charge to Peter (Matthew 16:16–19) The key moment in the Gospels for the claims of the Papacy. Within this tapestry Raphael combines the two Bible stories of Matthew 16:18-19. Raphael portrays Christ commanding Peter to share the Gospel for him. Christ points at Peter while simultaneously pointing at the sheep. This creates a connection for Peter. He is chosen as the shepherd for the believers. Raphael utilizes foreshortening to help viewers focus on the main images and message of the cartoon. He effortlessly implements chiaroscuro. The use of colors to show different lighting illustrates where the sun is in relation to the characters.<ref>{{Cite web|last=Museum|first=Victoria and Albert|title=Christ's Charge to Peter (Matthew 16: 18-19, John 21: 15-17) {{!}} Raphael {{!}} V&A Explore The Collections|url=|access-date=2022-02-11|website=Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections|language=en}}</ref>
The Healing of the Lame Man (Acts 3:1–8)The incredible story of Peter healing the lame man, Acts 3:1-8 is a tapestry within Raphael’s Cartoon collection. This miracle illustrates the “spiritual healing of Jesus." Pictured is the lame man sitting and leaning against an intricately detailed column with his arm reaching overhead for Peter to cradle his hand. Raphael’s attention to detail is displayed in the lame man’s face. The shadowing and tones used create the look of an aged, tired man. The wrinkles in his face and his eyes display the pain he is feeling. The lines used in the creation of his legs and feet define muscular legs and impaired feet. All of this artistic detail reinforces the fact that the lame man spent many years lying and crawling on the ground impaired by his handicap. In contrast, Peter stands clutching his hand while praying over him. The details in Peter’s face and expression reinforce his concern. The rendering of the clothing is exceptional. It gives the appearance of creased material that can be felt. Furthermore, the detail of each individual’s hair enables the viewer to detect exactly how their hair would appear in person.<ref>{{Cite web|last=Museum|first=Victoria and Albert|title=The Healing of the Lame Man (Acts 3: 1-8) {{!}} Raphael {{!}} V&A Explore The Collections|url=|access-date=2022-02-11|website=Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections|language=en}}</ref>
The Death of Ananias (Acts 5:1–10)Raphael’s tapestry expertly illustrates the story of Acts 5:1-10. This could also be named the miracles of Peter. This artwork explains the story of how Peter is capable of punishing and saving others. The Apostles requested that the Christian followers sell their items and tithe the money. During this, Ananias steals from the church by stealing some of the money. When questioned by Peter, Ananias denies any wrong doing. Ananias drops dead. He was punished for his sins of stealing and lying. Raphael once again applies the skill of chiaroscuro to illustrate this tapestry. His use of tones and shading help place lighting and shadows to specific areas of this artwork. The use of implied lines is demonstrated with the man standing over Ananias pointing to another individual who is pointing up, as if he is pointing to God. This implies that God can help him. The group of men on the right appears concerned with Ananias and wants to help. On the other hand, the men to the left seem frightened.<ref>{{Cite web|last=Museum|first=Victoria and Albert|title=The Death of Ananias (Acts 5: 1-5) {{!}} Raphael {{!}} V&A Explore The Collections|url=|access-date=2022-02-11|website=Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections|language=en}}</ref>
The Stoning of St Stephen (no cartoon) at which Paul (Saul) was present before his conversion.
The Conversion of Saint Paul (no cartoon[c])
"The Conversion of the Proconsul or The Blinding of Elymas (Acts 13:6–12)." Paul had been invited to preach to the Roman proconsul of Paphos, Sergius Paulus, but is heckled by Elymas, a "magus", whom Paul miraculously causes to go temporarily blind, thus converting the proconsul.
The Sacrifice at Lystra (Acts 14:8). After Paul miraculously cures a cripple, the people of Lystra see him and his companion Barnabas (both standing left) as gods, and want to make a sacrifice to them. Paul tears his garments in disgust, whilst Barnabas speaks to the crowd, persuading the young man at centre to restrain the man with the sacrificial axe.
St Paul in prison (no cartoon), much smaller than the others, tall and narrow. This is also missing from the later tapestry sets.
St Paul Preaching in Athens (Acts 17:16–34), the figure standing at the left in a red cap is a portrait of Leo; next to him is Janus Lascaris, a Greek scholar in Rome. The kneeling couple at the right were probably added by Giulio Romano, then an assistant to Raphael.
Moses Leaving for Egypt
Punishment of the Rebels
Sermon on the Mount

The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescoes that decorate the interior, most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment, both by Michelangelo.