By the time little Michelangelo Buonarroti was 13 years old, he was already an artist’s apprentice to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. After proving his sculptural skills with pieces like the Pieta and David, he was called to Rome in 1508 to create what would become his most famous piece ever…the Sistine Chapel.
The ceiling itself took a little more than four years to complete. Many of his most famous ceiling frescoes are devoted to Biblical history…the most popular being The Creation of Adam.
On this day, 499 years ago, the ceiling opened to the public for the first time. In no time at all, Michelangelo was praised as one of Europe’s greatest living artists. He continued to work up until his death in 1564, at the ripe old age of 88. His impact to the world of artistic creation is comparable to the influences William Shakespeare and Mozart have on their respective fields.
Not many people get the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel in all its glory. While this isn’t even close to seeing it live, there is a way you can get a good idea of what this stunning chapel looks like.
The Vatican has a virtual tour available of the Sistine Chapel…all you have to do is click here. Drag your mouse around to get the full view of this breathtaking piece of art.
Don’t quite know what you’re looking at? Here’s a guide to the stories painted on the ceiling.
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