Sistine chapel, Rome

(fin. 1483)
   The Sistine Chapel was built for Pope Sixtus IV to replace the 13th-century Great Chapel of Nicholas III. The proportions of the new structure followed the biblical description in I Kings of the Holy of Holies in Solomon's temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was housed. With this, Sixtus could compare himself to Solomon, hailed for his building activities and wisdom. The chapel's interior was decorated in 1481-1482 with frescoes by some of the leading central Italian masters of the period, namely Sandro Botticelli, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Luca Signorelli, Cosimo Rosselli, and Pietro Perugino, this last believed to have overseen the commission. These men painted on the walls narratives from the lives of Moses and Christ, paired thematically to denote that the law of the Jews has been supplanted by that of Christians. Although the frescoes on the walls turned out to be somewhat of a fiasco as severe stylistic and compositional discrepancies exist between the scenes, some of the contributions stand out as masterpieces, among them Botticelli's Punishment of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Ghirlandaio's Calling of Sts. Peter and Andrew, and Perugino's Christ Giving the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St. Peter. In this decorative campaign, the vault was covered in blue and dotted with stars to resemble the heavens, the understated design replaced in 1508-1512 by Michelangelo's magnificent Sistine ceiling. Later, Michelangelo also replaced Perugino's Assumption on the altar wall, with his Last Judgment (1536-1541). The chapel's overall decoration serves as imposing backdrop for liturgical celebrations and the election of the new pope, which, to this day, takes place in this building. This is why the frescoes on the wall speak of papal primacy and authority while those on the ceiling relate the recognition by mankind of Christianity as the true faith.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sistine Ceiling, Sistine Chapel, Rome — (1508 1512)    During the late 15th century decorative campaign of the Sistine Chapel, initiated by Sixtus IV, the ceiling was painted blue and dotted with stars to symbolize the heavens. In 1504, a large crack appeared on the ceiling and its… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Sistine Chapel — Cappella Sistina (Italian) Sacellum Sixtinum (Latin) View of the interior of th …   Wikipedia

  • Sistine chapel — Sistine Sis tine, a.[It. sistino.] Of or pertaining to Pope Sixtus. [1913 Webster] {Sistine chapel}, a chapel in the Vatican at Rome, built by Pope Sixtus IV., and decorated with frescoes by Michael Angelo and others. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sistine Chapel — n. [see SISTINE] the principal chapel in the Vatican at Rome, famous for its frescoes by Michelangelo and other artists: built by order of Sixtus IV …   English World dictionary

  • Sistine Chapel ceiling — The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is one of the most renowned artworks of the High Renaissance. The ceiling is that of the large Sistine Chapel built within the Vatican by Pope Sixtus IV, begun in 1477 and …   Wikipedia

  • Sistine Chapel Choir — The Sistine Chapel Choir is a choir based in Vatican City and is one of the oldest religious choirs in the world. HistoryMiddle Ages (c.600 c.1300)Although it is known that the Church, from her earliest days, employed music, it was not until the… …   Wikipedia

  • Sistine Chapel — the chapel of the pope in the Vatican at Rome, built for Pope Sixtus IV and decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo and others. * * * Papal chapel in the Vatican Palace, Rome, constructed 1473–81 by Giovanni dei Dolci for Pope Sixtus IV (for whom …   Universalium

  • Sistine Chapel — Sis|tine Chap|el the Sistine Chapel a ↑chapel in the Vatican, Rome, famous for the paintings on its ceiling done by Michaelangelo, which many people consider one of the most impressive works of art in Europe …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Sistine Chapel — noun the private chapel of the popes in Rome; it was built by and named after Sixtus IV in 1473 • Instance Hypernyms: ↑chapel • Part Holonyms: ↑Rome, ↑Roma, ↑Eternal City, ↑Italian capital, ↑capital of Italy …   Useful english dictionary

  • SISTINE CHAPEL —    celebrated chapel of the Vatican at Rome, constructed by order of Pope Sixtus IV., and decorated with frescoes by Michael Angelo, representing a succession of biblical subjects, including among others the Creation of the World, the Creation of …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.