Michelangelo’s 30’s and The Sistine Chapel


Sistine Ceiling frescos Vatican, Rome 1508-1512

Michelangelo’s late 20’s and 30’s consisted of almost completing Pope Julius II tomb. The project was repeatedly placed on hold and Michelangelo even proclaimed he would never return to Rome because of his frustration with the commission. Nevertheless, Michelangelo did return, but only to complete the wonder that is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. To be able to paint on the ceiling, Michelangelo engineered one of a kind scaffolding that would allow him to reach the ceiling and paint while standing. What the frescos depict are an immense amount of iconography revolving around: God’s creation of humanity, the meaning of beauty, and how one’s sin influences their relationship of god. You are meant to view the narrative of the ceiling in reverse. Michelangelo’s mastery of carving stone allows him to expertly depict the human form and his knowledge of anatomy. The color scheme used in the frescos also influenced the majority of the art that followed.


Creation of Adam, 1511-1512 Fresco, Sistine Ceiling

Pictured above is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works. The Creation of Adam, a fresco that is part of the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel, was completed in just 17 days. Adam, meaning “Earth” is depicted at the point of his creation. A sunken, concave, almost lifeless Adam, casually reclines onto the barren Earth beneath him while his gaze is longingly toward God. God is shown convex in contrast, full of power and strength and surrounded by Michelangelo’s famed wingless angels. God’s sheer magnitude and power is coming to a head as he reaches out with his index finger, towards Adam’s index finger.