This Renaissance masterpiece, located in the heart of the Vatican, is undoubtedly a monument that leaves everyone speechless. From its magnificent frescoes to the stories and secrets hidden within its walls, the Sistine Chapel is a place that captivates visitors and transports them to a time of artistic splendor. In addition to its striking beauty, one of the curiosities of the Sistine Chapel is that it keeps some intriguing secrets. Dare to meet them in Supercurioso and let yourself be surprised!
History of the Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel, one of the most celebrated artistic jewels in the world, was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV in the 15th century. Its construction was carried out between the years 1473 and 1481, under the direction of the architect Baccio Pontelli. However, it was the Renaissance genius Michelangelo who left an indelible mark on this masterpiece.
In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the chapel’s ceiling. For the next four years, the artist worked tirelessly, creating a series of frescoes depicting biblical episodes, from Creation to the Deluge. The highlight of this work is the iconic “Last Judgment” fresco, which adorns the chapel’s altar and was completed by Michelangelo in 1541.
Today, the Sistine Chapel remains an unrivaled treasure, a place where history and art are sublimely intertwined. Its magnificent ceiling, Michelangelo’s paintings and its sacred atmosphere make this chapel an unmissable destination for those who seek to revel in the greatness of human talent and spirituality.
10 curiosities of the Sistine Chapel
1. Michelangelo took 4 years to finish his work
On October 31, 1512 Michelangelo finished decorating the vault of the Sistine Chapel, a job that took him 4 hard years of his life on a scaffold and with his neck permanently facing the ceiling and painting. One of the curious facts about the Sistine Chapel is that Michelangelo had never painted frescoes.
Miguel Ángel saw his health suffer after the realization of the paintings. Indeed, he started at the age of 33 and when he finished he had incipient rheumatism, dizziness and neck tendon problems, respiratory problems, scoliosis, kidney stones and fluid retention. Today, thanks to his commitment and genius, we can admire one of the masterpieces in the entire history of Art.
2. Il Braghettone
In 1564, during the Council of Trent, the “most prominent” nudes in the Last Judgment fresco were ordered to be covered. For this, Pope Pius V commissioned artist Daniele da Volterra to cover them, earning him the nickname “Il Braghettone” (the painter of pants). It is one of the most controversial curiosities of the Sistine Chapel.
3. The feminine enigma
One of the most intriguing curiosities of the Sistine Chapel is the presence of an enigmatic female figure within the composition of the “Last Judgment”a masterpiece completed by Michelangelo in 1541. This detail has generated intense debate and speculation over the centuries, arousing the curiosity of those who venture to discover the secrets hidden in the brushstrokes of artistic genius.
4. The requirement of the work
In the challenging process of painting the chapel ceiling, Michelangelo had to overcome considerable physical obstacles. To achieve this, special scaffolding was used that was hung from the ceiling, allowing him to work in awkward and prolonged positions. This technical and artistic feat adds an even higher level of awe to the masterpiece looming over visitors.
For it, designed a whole system of scaffolding for the decoration of the vault, which did not impede access to the premises. A kind of wooden bridge with fabrics placed below and on the sides of the scaffolding so that drops of paint or plaster did not fall anywhere.
5. A new and revolutionary God
In those times, the figure of God was not very clear. It was not until the arrival of Michelangelo with his frescoes that an image different from the one that was had at the time began to become popular, where in most of the paintings, God was represented by a hand pointing downwards surrounded by clouds.
For his part, Michelangelo’s representation was a more muscular figure, similar to that of the Greek god Zeus or the Roman Jupiter.
6. Revived colors
In the 1980s, an exhaustive restoration was carried out in the Sistine Chapel to restore the original colors that had been obscured by centuries of candle smoke and dust. Thus, his frescoes reaffirmed to be one of the most beautiful paintings in the world.
7. The relationship between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo
Pope Julius II had a hard time convincing Michelangelo and this is that he was angry with him. Because? Apparently, the artist had spent 3 years in the quarries of Carrara looking for the best marble for the Pope’s mausoleum project and when he arrived in Rome they told him that they were not continuing with the project, without further explanation.
A year and 3 letters were what it took for Julio II to convince Miguel Ángel. Surely he would think “He is Pope, but I am an artist.” This gesture is one of the first to transform the role of the artist in society. Now the artist is a free man, with the full right to make his own decisions.
Despite this, one of the curiosities of Rome is that Pope Julius II was one of those in charge of restoring glory to the city.
8. Symbology in the paintings
One of the secrets of the Sistine Chapel has to do with the legends about the hidden symbology in the imposing paintings. One of the most popular theories is the Saint Bartholomew of The Last Judgment, located to the right of the feet of Christ. He shows in his hands the tool with which he was skinned and his skin torn off. The stories say that, in reality, it is the self-portrait of Michelangelo, which would represent the torture that the artist suffered in the work.
9. Biblical scenes
One of the curiosities of the Sistine Chapel is that you can not only appreciate the famous hand of God touching the hand of man. Also, on the roof Various biblical scenes are represented, from the creation of Adam to the Universal Flood.
10. Based on the Temple of Solomon
One of the curious facts about the Sistine Chapel is that its dimensions were not chosen at random. It has a rectangular shape that specifically measures 40.93 meters long by 13.41 meters wide, the same measurements that the Temple of Solomon is believed to have according to the Old Testament. Undoubtedly, one of the best curiosities of the Vatican is housing this magnificent work of art.
The Sistine Chapel, with its history, beauty and captivating curiosities, continues to fascinate millions of people around the world. Have you had the opportunity to visit this artistic treasure? Share your opinions and experiences with us in the comments! We would love to know your impressions and immerse ourselves together in more curiosities of the Sistine Chapel.