See the Magnificent Sistine Chapel with TravelVatican.com
View the extraordinary beauty of the Sistine Chapel for your own eyes. TravelVatican.com helps you arrange your visit to this legendary structure, which has been for many years attracting tourists from all over the world. Come admire its exquisite walls and ceiling, painted by some of the greatest artists in history and learn more about this place which has been serving as a home for many popes.
The Sistine Chapel was commissioned in the 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere, to whom it owes its name. It's in fact a restoration of the old Cappella Magna, and was created by a team of prominent artists including Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli , Pietro Perugino and Sandro Botticelli. In the years between 1477 and 1481 these painters portrayed known scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ, as well as famous popes. The ceiling, which was painted by Matteo d'Amelia, featured dark, star-filled sky.
In 1508, almost three decades later, the ingenious Michelangelo Buonarroti took the challenge of painting the upper part of the walls and the ceiling. For four long years Michelangelo created nine paintings of stories from the Book of Genesis: The Creation, the Fall of Man, the Flood and Noah.
It was a huge and exhausting project for Michelangelo who has painted approximately 1,100 meters squared (12,000 square feet) in four years, a great part of which he spent lying on his back hung from the ceiling. The great artist resented the work. He saw it as a mean of reinforcing the papacy's sumptuousness and nothing more. However, in the centuries that past since, the incredible ceiling and his masterwork “The Last Judgment" (painted between 1537 and 1541) are considered to be Michelangelo's greatest creation and have established his reputation as one of the greatest painters the world has ever seen.
In 1515, the young and ambitious Raphael designed a series of 10 tapestries to be hung on the lower tier of the chapel's walls. Their composition took 4 years and due to their size they were made in Brussels and then sent to Rome.
In the following 16th century, some of the earlier paintings were repainted by great artists such as Matteo da Lecce and Hendrik van den Broeck and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel were thoroughly restored between 1979 and 1999.
Its architectural brilliance and supreme decorations made the Sistine Chapel into a center of papacy politics, owe-creating religious shrine and an estimates work of art which attracts tourists from all over the world. Nowadays the Sistine Chapel serves as a place of meeting for the Papal and the location in which every new pope is selected.
Keep in mind that in order to reach the Sistine Chapel you'll need to walk through several other impressive buildings and some incredible halls. Even if you are a good walker, the trip will take about an hour. Make sure you bring a map with you, to make sure you'll be able to find your place around. For more information regarding the Sistine Chapel, try the mv.vatican.va for some more facts of the structure's design and history.