Some years ago I took a lightening tour of the major Italian cities – mostly a fact finding mission to see where I’d particularly like to spend time on future visits.
One of the highlights, and a fulfilled ambition, was visiting the Sistine chapel. Awesome is too small a word to describe the first impression of the paintings. The chapel decoration is truly an astounding sight and, as I expected, I was overwhelmed by Michelangelo’s skill.
The ceiling has so many factors to wonder at: the rendering of each figure, the balance of each scene’s composition to make a harmonious whole, the story-telling by look or gesture, the arrangement of figures in to confined spaces without them looking cramped…. It really is one of the artistic wonders of the world.
What really amazed me was something I’d never considered before – the sheer audacity of the artist in believing that he was capable of executing the design. Perhaps you need to have tried painting the human figure to realise what a triumph it would be to complete even a small part of the ceiling. I know I was astounded at the level of skill involved.
A few days ago I discovered a website devoted to the Sistine chapel and I’m delighted to share that with you now. The viewer can see the whole chapel, focus on the ceiling, zoom in to different areas and spend as much or as little time exploring as they wish. Sadly, if you visit the real thing you’re rushed through to accommodate those queuing behind you.
So here’s the link, and as you view, spare a thought for Michelangelo Buonarroti whose work will probably never be surpassed.