The Sistine Chapel.
A chapel in the Vatican had been built by Pope Sixtus IV, and is therefore called the Sistine Chapel, this was the next great commission given to Michelangelo. The walls had been decorated by famous painters of the past and the pope wanted the vault of the chamber painted to complete the decoration of the chapel. This work, lasting for four years, was completed with the artist having to lie on his back and paint looking upwards. The work contains over 300 figures and centres on the Book of Genesis, it remains one of the finest examples of one man's physical, intellectual and artistic achievement.
The Creation of Adam, from the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel. (w)
Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Leo X to build a family funeral chapel for the Medici in the basilica of San Lorenzo one of the largest churches in Florence. In this project the artist created both the sculptures and the plan for interior. In the 1530s the artist left Florence and returned to Rome.
The Last Judgement on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel began in 1534, twenty years after the painter had finished the vault, took the artist seven years to complete. The massive fresco was unveiled in a ceremony on October 13th 1541 but the pictures of naked bodies on display in the chapel was considered to be obscene. The pope resisted calls for the fresco to be removed, however it was decided that the genitals should be covered, a work undertaken by Daniele da Volterra an apprentice of the great artist.
Perhaps Michelangelo least well-known paintings can be found in a chapel within the Vatican complex, The Pauline Chapel. This series of frescoes, commissioned by Pope Paul III, are sometimes considered to be inferior to the more famous Sistine Chapel works. The two works completed for the Chapel are, The Conversion of Saul and The Crucifixion of St Peter. These paintings did not follow the conventions of composition of the time but they do need to be viewed from within the long narrow chapel to see them at their best.