Michelangelo

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in the Vatican City. Its fame rests on its architecture, which evokes the Temple of the Old Testament, and its decoration, frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo, whose ceiling is legendary. The Sistine Chapel is considered to be the greatest artistic creation in the history of mankind. Michelangelo could possibly be the greatest artist who has ever lived. His paintings in Sistine Chapel, the triumph of Renaissance humanist ideal, have changed the meaning of art forever.

The Ancestors of Christ

There are eight triangular areas above the arched windows of the chapel, four on each side.

  1. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1509)
  2. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1510)
  3. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (Detail) (1510)
  4. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (1510)
  5. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1511)
  6. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (1511)
  7. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (Detail) (1511)
  8. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 (1511)
  9. Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 (Detail) (1511)


Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1509)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the second bay between Isaiah and the Delphic Sibyl, over the Josiah-Jechoniah-Shealtiel lunette.

The figures probably represent Jechoniah's family with their son Shealtiel. The poses of the figures, together with the nocturnal atmosphere, bring to mind the definition that St Paul gave of the ancestors of Christ as "pilgrims" and strangers on earth", on their way toward the promised land.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1510)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the fourth bay between the Erythraean Sibyl and Ezekiel. This spandrel is over the Uzziah-Jotham-Ahaz lunette.

Together with the child leaning toward her breast, the woman kneeling in the foreground forms a pyramidal group with the axis slightly to the right of that of the triangle constituted by the spandrel. The space on the left is occupied a little further back by another seated figure who also clasps a child, while on the right there is a foreshortened representation of a large sack. The colours of the clothes, especially the woman's pale pink mantle with iridescent green and yellow shadows, stand out against the gloomy, nocturnal background.

The figures are identified as Uzziah, the future king of Juda, his mother, his father Jotham, and one of his brothers.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (Detail) (1510)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (Detail) for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the fourth bay between the Erythraean Sibyl and Ezekiel. This spandrel is over the Uzziah-Jotham-Ahaz lunette.

Together with the child leaning toward her breast, the woman kneeling in the foreground forms a pyramidal group with the axis slightly to the right of that of the triangle constituted by the spandrel. The space on the left is occupied a little further back by another seated figure who also clasps a child, while on the right there is a foreshortened representation of a large sack. The colours of the clothes, especially the woman's pale pink mantle with iridescent green and yellow shadows, stand out against the gloomy, nocturnal background.

The figures are identified as Uzziah, the future king of Juda, his mother, his father Jotham, and one of his brothers.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (1510)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the fourth bay between the Cumaean Sibyl and Isaiah. The spandrel is situated over the Hezekiah-Manasseh-Amon lunette.

All of the space in the foreground is occupied by the figure in profile of the woman seated on the ground. Behind her, there is the figure of a child and the head of an old man emerging from the shadows. A bright light, however, gives prominence to the woman's green mantle with iridescent yellow shadows, her white shirt, and the violet scarf falling from her shoulder along her right arm, heightening the contrast with the figures behind.

In accordance with the lunette below, the figures represent Hezekiah as a child with his mother and his father Ahaz.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ (1511)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the sixth bay between Daniel and the Cumaean Sibyl. The spandrel is situated over the Asa-Jehoshaphat-Joram lunette.

The field of the spandrel is almost entirely occupied by the figure of the sleeping woman, seated in the foreground on a white sack. The brightness of the colours of her robe contrast with the shadows in the background which shroud the figures of the man and child.

It is assumed that in the background Asa, the future king is consoling his father (a destroyer of idols) in pilgrim robe, while his mother (a worshipper of idols) is sleeping in the foreground.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (1511)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the eighth bay between the Persian Sibyl and Jeremiah. The spandrel is above the Salmon-Boaz-Obed lunette.

The family group fits perfectly into the triangular field and appear, for once, closely linked by the interplay gestures and glances, focused on the woman's activity. In accordance with the lunette below, it assumed that the boy is Salmon.

The bronze nudes in the fields above the cornice are depicted bent forward in an odd, uncomfortable pose, as if they were trying to peep upward.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (Detail) (1511)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 2 (Detail) for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the eighth bay between the Persian Sibyl and Jeremiah. The spandrel is above the Salmon-Boaz-Obed lunette.

The family group fits perfectly into the triangular field and appear, for once, closely linked by the interplay gestures and glances, focused on the woman's activity. In accordance with the lunette below, it assumed that the boy is Salmon.

The bronze nudes in the fields above the cornice are depicted bent forward in an odd, uncomfortable pose, as if they were trying to peep upward.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 (1511)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the eighth bay between the Libyan Sibyl and Daniel. The spandrel is above the Jesse-David-Solomon lunette.

The absolute immobility of the enigmatic figure depicted frontally provides a triking contrast to the activity of the woman in the opposite spandrel. Placed precisely on the axis of the triangle, she appears to be deep in meditation and totally extraneous to the two figures - a man and a child - that may be discerned behind her in the darkness. In accordance with the lunette below, it can be assumed that Jesse as a child is depicted here together with his parents.

The bronze nudes, with their backs turned toward the viewer, seem to be looking upward, like those above the opposit spandrel.

Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 (Detail) (1511)

Get a high-quality picture of Sistine Chapel, Ancestors of Christ 3 (Detail) for your computer or notebook. ‣ The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the eighth bay between the Libyan Sibyl and Daniel. The spandrel is above the Jesse-David-Solomon lunette.

The absolute immobility of the enigmatic figure depicted frontally provides a triking contrast to the activity of the woman in the opposite spandrel. Placed precisely on the axis of the triangle, she appears to be deep in meditation and totally extraneous to the two figures - a man and a child - that may be discerned behind her in the darkness. In accordance with the lunette below, it can be assumed that Jesse as a child is depicted here together with his parents.


Michelangelo Art

  • Michelangelo, a High Renaissance painter and sculptor. Possibly the greatest artist who has ever lived. Explore the sublime, everlasting beauty of Michelangelo's monumental art... More...
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Articles

Art Encyclopedia A world history of art in articles.
      Renaissance
            Michelangelo
                  Art, life and biography.
                  Michelangelo's David.
                  Michelangelo's Pieta.
                  Sistine Chapel. High Renaissance Masterpiece.
                  Sistine Chapel. Book of Genesis.
                  Sistine Chapel. The Ignudi.
                  Sistine Chapel. Seven Prophets.
                  Sistine Chapel. Five Sibyls.
                  Sistine Chapel. Lunettes.
                  Sistine Chapel. Pendentives.
                  Sistine Chapel. The Ancestors of Christ.
                  Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgement.

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