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Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel (sĬs´tēn) [for Sixtus IV], private chapel of the popes in Rome, one of the principal glories of the Vatican. Built (1473) under Pope Sixtus IV, it is famous for its decorations. By far the best-known achievements in the chapel are the work of Michelangelo. Across the ceiling he painted nine episodes from Genesis. There are representations of the stages of creation, Adam and Eve's temptation and fall, and Noah and the Deluge. Below these scenes are the statuesque figures of prophets and sibyls, with episodes from the Old Testament in the spandrels, all designed to prefigure the salvation of Christianity. The last great work Michelangelo executed in the chapel is The Last Judgment, on the altar wall.

Frescoes by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, and Signorelli cover the side walls of the chapel. They depict scenes from the lives of Moses and Jesus, symbolizing the reign of law and of grace, respectively. There are also varicolored marble mosaics on the chapel's floor. Another treasure of the chapel is its collection of illuminated music manuscripts in the archives of the choir.

In 1980 cleaning and restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes began with the test cleaning of small areas; full-scale work started the following year and was completed in 1994. The cleaning became controversial as it proceeded, as many experts accused the restorers of distorting or destroying the frescoes, but others defended the work, astonished at the colorist that the restoration revealed the artist to be. The cleaning of chapel frescoes by Botticelli, Perugino, and other painters was completed in 1999.

See C. Pietrangeli, The Sistine Chapel (1986); The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration (1995).

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Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel Private chapel of the Popes in Vatican City, painted by some of the greatest artists of Renaissance Italy. It was built between 1473 and 1481 for Pope Sixtus IV. Frescos by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Signorelli adorned its side walls. Its most celebrated features are the ceiling, window lunettes, and altar wall, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1541.

http://www.rm.astro.it/amendola/sistina.html; http://www.vatican.va

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Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel a chapel in the Vatican, built in the late 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV, for whom it is named, containing a painted ceiling and fresco of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and also frescoes by Botticelli and other painters. It is used for the principal papal ceremonies and also by the cardinals when meeting for the election of a new pope.

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