The architect Giovanni dei Dolci erected Sistine Chapel, the papal chapel in the Vatican Palace in 1473-81 for Pope Sixtus IV. Also known as Cappella Sistina in Italian, the Sistine Chapel is a popular tourist spot that attracts millions of tourists annually worldwide.
Every bit of this building is enchanting and overwhelming. The outside may appear a little deceiving; however, the inside is full of beautiful treasures. You will come across the stunning frescoes of the Renaissance, and being a connoisseur of art, you wouldn’t stop yourself from admiring them. The ceiling was painted by a skillful sculptor turned painter, Michelangelo.
Amazing Facts About Sistine Chapel
- The Chapel is located within Vatican City and its glorious museums. Every day, around 25,000 visitors visit the chapel to admire the masterpiece on its ceiling.
- The Chapel was built between 1477 and 1480 under the authority of Sixtus IV. The frescoes inside were believed to be commissioned by Pope Julius II.
- This place serves as a papal conclave, place of worship, and other essential functions.
- It is believed that Pope Sixtus IV invested money into building this iconic structure. The layout was inspired by the Temple of Solomon described in the Old Testament.
- Certain features of the Sistine Chapel went misinterpreted. For instance, the nudes painted in the frescoes could not be deciphered. In the year 1564, the Council of Trent considered these images to be inappropriate following which Daniele da Volterra was ordered to cover them with painting clothing and fig leaves.
- Thereafter, some of the drapes were removed and the original painting was revealed. This episode took place when the chapel underwent restoration work in the 1980s and 1990s.
- The ceiling is high and measures around 131 feet long and 43 feet wide. It demonstrated the enormous scale of the non-traditional canvas that might have been used to paint it. It is said that the artist, Michelangelo painted over 5,000 square feet of Frescoes.
- It is also believed that Julius was determined that Rome must be rebuilt to its former glory. Following this, he embarked on a campaign to attain this ambitious task. According to him, such a piece of art will not only add appreciation to his own name but will also outshine anything that Pope Alexander VI, his rival, had achieved and accomplished.
- It took four years for Michelangelo to paint the ceiling to perfection. Today, it spreads to an area of 12,000 square feet.
- Some rumors suggest that the artist painted the frescoes while standing upright. Another well-known theory suggests that he painted each area lying on his back. However, these theories are considered urban legends.
- What makes The Sistine Chapel discreet is that the depiction of God in Michelangelo’s frescoes is one of the first of its kind. The painting showcases a man with a long white mane and white beard.
- This image of God painted by the artist became common. It is because, until that point, God was never portrayed as a person in this manner.
- Michelangelo features God six times through his paintings (frescoes). However, these images were painted at last, for he wanted to polish his approach first.
- The artist started to work on the ceiling when he was only 30 years old. At this age, he was famous as a sculptor in the city.
- Michelangelo worked on three different projects. Unfortunately, each of them was left unfinished because of multiple interruptions.
- His work of art at the glorious Chapel was not at all easy. He had to experience interruptions, disappointments, quarrels, hesitations, and whatnot. While working on this project, he didn’t face problems only from the people at work, but his family members too.
- At one point, the quarrel between Michelangelo and Pope flamed so much that he had to secretly leave Rome from Florence. However, he returned to Rome after the government of Florence ordered him to go back to the Pope.
- By the time Michelangelo was finishing his work on the Sistine Ceiling, his reputation began to precede.
- Originally, Michelangelo was a sculptor. Before painting the ceiling, he worked with marbles and other materials. During his work of sculpting, the only time that he painted was at the time of his brief stint as a student in a workshop in Ghirlandaio.
- The Sistine Chapel has a great significance not only in terms of being a tourist spot, but others as well. Each time a new Pope is to be elected, the College of Cardinals comes and meets at the Chapel and submits their votes under the oath. This event has been taking place since 1492.
- The Sistine Chapel is also in use as the private chapel of the Pope. Furthermore, the numbers of visitors always keep on increasing.
- If you are planning to visit this Chapel, there are a few things to keep in mind. You must dress appropriately. Cover your shoulders and legs below your knees. If not, you will not be allowed to enter the chapel. Regardless of their gender, all visitors are expected to follow the code of conduct.
- The chapel also bans the use of cameras during visiting times. It is done to protect the paintings. At the time of the election of a new Pope, the security steps up. At present, the Chapel has 115 security checks.
- The architect who carried out the design of the Sistine Chapel with worship and defense at its very core also ended up designing the Ponte Sisto. It is a bridge in Rome spanning the Tiber. Ponte Sisto is looked upon as another masterpiece of those times.
- The number of visitors that come to visit and laud the Chapel and paintings at the ceiling every year surpasses the total population of Norway.
We hope you enjoyed reading the above-listed facts about the Chapel. As a sucker for history and art, your visit to this place is a must.
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