The Sistine Chapel plays an important role in Italian Renaissance art history and it houses some of the most iconic images of the era. The chapel, located within the Vatican City, is named after Sixtus IV della Rovere and is built on the site of a Medieval hall the "Cappella Magna". It was used for assemblies by the Papal Court.
The building work started in 1475 ended in 1483, and the chapel was inaugurated by the Pope who dedicated it to Our Lady of the Assumption. The chapel is used by the College of Cardinals for the election of a new pope (who is considered to be the successor of St Peter).
The chapel's dimensions (40.23 meters in length, 13.40 meters in width and 20.70 meters in height) are reputed to be copied from Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed in 70 A.D.
When the structure was complete the side walls of the chapel were decorated in 1481 with frescoes by the greatest Italian Renaissance artists. From Florence, Botticelli, Rosselli, Ghirlandaio and Signorelli and Umbrian artists such as Perugino and Pinturicchio. Painted imitation curtains with the pope’s coat
of arms were frescoed on the lower walls above these hung tapestries by Raphael
and his followers.