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Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo always saw himself as a sculptor, even though some of his most famous works are his paintings and architecture.  In Michelangelo’s words, “Painting is beautiful in the measure that it approaches sculpture; sculpture is bad the more it approaches painting”.  In fact, when Pope Julius II ordered Michelangelo to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in fresco, Michelangelo rebelled.  Michelangelo and the Sistine ChapelThe Sistine Chapel is an example of Michelangelo’s impatience with others as previously mentioned.  In the fall of 1508 Michelangelo began the painting of the Sistine ceiling, calling on assistance from Giuliano Bugiardini, Aristotile da Sangallo, Francesco Granacci and several laborers.  However, the work that Michelangelo’s friends and laborers put in was not up to his standards so he fired all of his assistants.  In fact, Michelangelo completed the entire Sistine ceiling on his own.

Before Michelangelo began his work on the Sistine ceiling he was commissioned by Julius II to produce his tomb.  The construction of the tomb was set aside however, due to the expense of  the marble that Michelangelo wanted use in the tomb.  Due to the shortage of money the pope ordered Michelangelo to put aside the construction of the tomb in favor of the Sistine chapel.  Although the tomb was later finished by Michelangelo it was done on a much more modest scale.  The tomb for Julius was just the beginning of Michelangelo’s architecture.  Once again Michelangelo went against the Greek and Roman architecture of the time, he used motifs-columns, pediments, and brackets for a personal and expressive purpose.

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