The Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's masterpiece

When awarded the commission to paint the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo was doubted by critics. Silencing them, his beautiful brushstrokes came to embody the peak of Renaissance art.

With an outstretched finger, God bestows the gift of life to Adam in Michelangelo’s “Creation“ fresco from the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Photograph by Archivio Fotografico Musei Vaticani

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was better known as a sculptor when Pope Julius II tapped him to illuminate the Sistine Chapel. Known to the world as Michelangelo, the Florentine was just 24 when he sculpted his renowned “Pietà,” a tender depiction of the Virgin Mary cradling the lifeless body of her son. His towering “David” revealed his mastery of sculpting the human form.

For all the skill and beauty of his work with a chisel, it is perhaps his work with a brush for which he is remembered most of all. The bold colors and striking composition of his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel still awe viewers with their power and emotion. The Sistine ceiling and the “Last Judgment” stand as a testament to Michelangelo’s genius as a painter and evolution as an artist.

Take an amazing virtual tour of the Basilica of St. Peter.

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