It was Pope Julius II who chose Michelangelo Buonarroti to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo completed the ceiling and vault decoration in just 4 years.

Initially, he was only supposed to paint the figures of the 12 Apostles, but by the end of the work more than 300 figures had been painted by the artist.

Sistine Chapel frescoed by Michelangelo

Works on the Sistine Chapel

The start of the works was very slow because Michelangelo had never painted frescoes before the Sistine Chapel. The difficulties were even greater since the surface was curved and he had to learn the "secrets" of perspective.

Some believe that Michelangelo painted lying on his back but it is not true because he had devised a scaffolding system to make his work easier.

In addition to the ceiling frescoes Michelangelo's most famous and appreciated work in the Sistine Chapel is theĀ  Last Judgment, painted between 1535 and 1541.

The ceiling and the Last Judgment frescoed by Michelangelo Buonarroti

After Michelangelo' death

In the last years of Michelangelo's life, a scandal broke out in the Vatican over his paintings of completely naked men and women.
In 1564, the year he died, the censorship law was for passed for his frescoes.

The Artist Daniele da Volterra was commissioned to cover the nudity with some clothes. Today it is possible to admire the original fresco because the censorship was removed following restoration.

A detail of the Last Judgment censored by Daniele da Volterra

Book now