Design Inspiration: Renaissance Art, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel ceiling in Vatican City is Michelangelo’s most renowned Renaissance art piece, I was lucky enough to honeymoon in Rome and see this piece up close, truly inspiring design on a colossal scale the whole chapel is famously frescoed with scenes from the book of Genesis, the craftsmanship and scale awe inspiring. When ceilings are frescoed like this you cannot distinguish between paint and stone, your eyes play tricks as you focus from one story to the next.
The Last Judgment
The most famous fresco is Michelangelo’s Last Judgment which took four years to completion in 1541. Situated on the altar wall, it depicts the souls of humans rising and falling to their fates, judged by Jesus Christ.
The last judgment was famously censored by prudent priests after Michelangelo’s death; Spearheaded by Biagio Da Cesana who said “it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully,” and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather “for the public baths and taverns,” .
Michelangelo went on to get his revenge as he worked in Cesena’s semblance into the scene as Minos, judge of the underworld (far bottom-right corner of the painting) with Donkey Ears, with Cesena’s nudity covered by a coiled snake.
It is said that when Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff responded that “his jurisdiction did not extend to hell, so the portrait would have to remain.”