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What codes and secrets Michelangelo left in the Sistine Chapel: 7 facts about the greatest masterpiece
What codes and secrets Michelangelo left in the Sistine Chapel: 7 facts about the greatest masterpiece

Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) it looks from the outside absolutely not impressive. This is just another medieval church building, of which there are many. In fact, the unremarkable façade of this boring building hides a real treasure, a true gem of the modern Vatican. She is famous mainly for the masterpiece frescoes of the brilliant Michelangelo. Interesting and little-known facts about this outstanding monument of the Renaissance and the secrets of the puzzle of the great artist, further in the review.

1. Michelangelo did not want to have anything to do with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel

In 1508, Michelangelo worked diligently on the marble tomb of Pope Julius II. This relatively little-known historical figure is now housed in the Roman church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The master was then thirty-three years old. Sign age. Julius asked the artist to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with frescoes. Michelangelo flatly refused. First, he considered himself a sculptor, not an artist. Secondly, he had no experience with frescoes. Michelangelo was also in a great hurry to finish the tomb. He was passionate about the work, even though his pay was severely cut. Subsequently, the master nevertheless agreed to paint the chapel and he spent the next four years of his life sitting on the scaffolding with a brush in his hand.

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

2. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel while standing

Portrait of Michelangelo

When people imagine how Michelangelo created his legendary frescoes, most people think that he did it while lying down. In fact, the artist and his assistants used a special wooden platform. They let them stand up straight. Michelangelo himself developed a completely unique system of platforms that were attached to the walls of the chapel with brackets. The image of the genius working on the frescoes was wonderfully embodied in the films Agony and Ecstasy in 1965 and Michelangelo. Infinity "2017.

Michelangelo. Infinity

3. The work on the Sistine Chapel was so unpleasant that Michelangelo even wrote a poem about his terrible suffering

Michelangelo in the process of work experienced increasing dissatisfaction and fatigue. He described his incredible physical stress and frustration from this project to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia.

“From this terrible torture I have already grown a goiter,” the master wrote ironically in a poem he wrote about this. He also complained that his belly was already starting to press against his chin, and his face was the floor for droppings. “My skin hangs freely beneath me, and my spine seems to be tied in a knot. Michelangelo ended his poetic efforts by writing: "I am absolutely in the wrong place, I am not an artist."

The most famous panel on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is called "The Creation of Adam"

4. Michelangelo's masterpiece proved to be very persistent

The frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is remarkably well preserved. After all, after its completion, as many as five centuries have passed! Only one small area was affected: a part of the sky on a panel depicting the salvation of Noah during the Great Flood. Some of the plaster fell off after an explosion in a nearby powder store in 1797.Despite the apparent strength of the ceiling, experts are quite concerned. They argue that the millions of people who visit the Sistine Chapel every year create extremely serious problems for the building.

Image of the Sistine Chapel

5. Michelangelo's masterpiece was meticulously restored in the 1980s and 1990s

Between 1980 and 1999, specialists diligently restored selected works of art in the Sistine Chapel. These include Michelangelo's frescoes on the ceiling, as well as his famous fresco known as the Last Judgment. He created it in the last years of his life.

The specialists carefully washed the layers of dirt and soot. They brightened and refreshed the colors of centuries-old paintings quite significantly. This restoration also negated the work of Pope Pius IV, who ordered fig leaves and loincloths to be placed on the naked bodies depicted in the frescoes.

Pope Pius IV ordered to cover the naked bodies in the frescoes with fig leaves and loincloths

6. The most famous panel on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel may be the image of the human brain

This is the fresco "Creation of Adam", where the figures depicting God and Adam are reaching out to each other, stretching out their hands. Their almost touching fingers are one of the most recognizable and widely copied images in the world. Some theorists believe that this scene also contains the unmistakable outline of the human brain. It is formed by images of angels and robes, around the figure of God. According to Frank Lynn Meschberger, the expert who first put forward this hypothesis, Michelangelo was referring to the Divine endowment of reason for the first person.

7. New popes are elected in the Sistine Chapel

Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope

The Sistine Chapel was built in the 1470s under Pope Sixtus IV. It was from him that she got her name. This structure is not just the most popular tourist pilgrimage site in the Vatican. The chapel has an incredibly important religious function. Numerous papal conclaves have been held in this simple brick building since 1492. The cardinals gathered to vote for the new Pope. A special pipe on the roof of the chapel broadcasts the results of the conclave: white smoke indicates the election of the Pope, and black smoke indicates that no candidate has yet received a two-thirds majority.

For fans of contemporary fine arts: 8 little-known facts about the great revolutionary in art Pablo Picasso.

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