Vatican Museums – Rome Italy – part 3



Cappella Sistina Vatican Rome

Cappella Sistina Vatican Rome

Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel of the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and others. Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted 1,100 m2 of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. The ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment (1535–1541), is widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievement in painting.
The chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored the old Cappella Magna between 1477 and 1480. During this period a team of painters that included Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio created a series of frescoed panels depicting the life of Moses and the life of Christ, offset by papal portraits above and trompe l’oeil drapery below. These paintings were completed in 1482, and on 15 August 1483, Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

 


Since the time of Sixtus IV, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected.
The Sistine Chapel is best known for being the location of Papal conclaves; it is, however, the chapel of the Papal Chapel , one of the two bodies of the Papal household, called until 1968 the Papal Court. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century, the Papal Chapel comprised about 200 people, including clerics, officials of the Vatican and distinguished laity. There were 50 occasions during the year on which it was prescribed by the Papal Calendar that the whole Papal Chapel should meet. Of these 50 occasions, 35 were masses, of which 8 were held in Basilicas, in general St. Peter’s, and were attended by large congregations. These included the Christmas Day and Easter masses, at which the Pope himself was the celebrant. The other 27 masses could be held in a smaller less public space, for which the Cappella Maggiore was used before it was rebuilt on the same site as the Sistine Chapel.

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Go to part  two

Go to part  four

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