- The frescoes in the Sistine Chapel celebrate 500 year anniversary
In the movie “The Agony and Ecstasy” with Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II and Charleton Heston as Michelangelo, the resounding question from the Pope throughout the movie was “When will you make an end?” That question was more or less answered on November 1, 1512 when Michelangelo’s famed fresco was unveiled to the public for the first time.
The collection of frescos that adorn the walls and ceilings of the chapel were commissioned by Pope Julius II. It took Michelangelo more than four years to complete the work which has now become one of the Vatican’s most beloved pieces of art and a popular tourist attraction.
Initially, the project was for the artist to paint the portraits of the twelve apostles. Instead, more than 300 figures in striking array and emotionally charged scenes were depicted. The painter used “the naked words of scripture” as his inspiration and relied on the Old Testament for what would become one of the greatest artistic treasures of the world.
The creation of such beauty was conducted through the use of suspended platforms that forced Michelangelo to work in contorted and uncomfortable positions for hours and hour every day. The end result of his suffering was a masterpiece that continues to inspire and awe 500 years later.
There has been talk of restricting the number of visitors to the Chapel to protect the painting from the humidity caused by large numbers of people in the small space. For now, the chapel is open to the public, for a fee, where this 500 year old work of art can be enjoyed. You can also find views of the work online if you can’t make the trip to Rome.