Located in the Vatican Palace, the Sistine Chapel is a large 15th-century chapel where the Pope lives, and in which popes are chosen and crowned. One of the main attractions of the Vatican City, it serves as the pope’s own chapel, used for important ceremonies and masses, but it’s perhaps most famous for its remarkable fresco paintings by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The ceiling is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, created between 1508 and 1512, with the painter working from a high platform with his arms stretched over his head, brush in hand. When entering the chapel, you can almost see him working while he wipes sweat from his eyes, toiling year after year often in intense heat, breathing in the terrible smell from the wet plaster used to create the masterpiece he never really wanted to paint in the first place. The artist considered himself more of a sculptor, with no experience painting frescoes – in fact, it’s been said that when he painted, he essentially painted sculpture on his surfaces. As you gaze up at the chapel ceiling, it’s easy to see this was the case, with his monumental figures embodying both beauty and strength.
In 1509, Michelangelo described the physical toll the project took to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia. In a poem he wrote about his spine being “knotted” from bending himself over and that his stomach was “squashed” under his skin.
Monday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
These hours can change. Please check the web site before making your plans.