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The chapel takes its name from Pope Sisto IV della Rovere (1471-1484).
The construction began in 1475, a jubilee year, and ended in 1483.

The main entrance is preceded by the grand “Sala (room) Regia”.
The pavement mosaic is the old one made in the early 1400.
Famous Florentine and Umbrian painters, as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli e Signorelli and Perugino e Pinturicchio were commissioned by Sisto IV to attend the chapel.

Sisto IV nephew Pope Giulio II (1503-1513), commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), to fresco the chapel’s VAULT. The work started in 1508 and was ended in 1512. 

The "LAST JUDGEMENT" was painted  by Michelangelo from 1536 to 1541.
The fresco was commissioned by Pope Paolo III Farnese (1534-1549).
On the walls of the chapel are depicted:

On the left, looking at the Judgement, scenes from the Old Testament:

  • the first painting "Viaggio di Mosè in Egitto", is made by Perugino

  • the "Prove di Mosè", were made by Botticelli

  • the "Passaggio del Mar Rosso" was painted by Biagio d’Antonio (1446-1516)

  • by Cosimo Rosselli is the "Consegna delle Tavole della Legge"

  • by Botticelli the "Castigo di Core, Datan e Abiron"

  • and by Signorelli is the "Testamento e morte di Mosè"


On the right wall of the chapel: 

  • by Perugino the "Battesimo di Cristo"

  • by Botticelli  the "Tentazioni di Cristo" and the "Purificazione del lebbroso"

  • by Ghirlandaio the "Vocazione dei primi apostoli"

  • by Cosimo Rosselli the "Discorso della montagna" (Matteo 5,1-12)

  • by Perugino the "Consegna delle chiavi"

  • by Cosimo Rosselli and Biagio d’Antonio the "Ultima Cena"


On the vault
Michelangelo’s masterpiece:

  •  l’Orazione nell’orto

  •  la cattura di Gesù

  •  la Crocifissione


The pictorial cycle is composed by three shares:

First share
On the lunette over the windows are depicted Christ’s ancestorsafter Mattew’s Gospel (1,1-17).

On the four ribbed vault are represented:

  • On the right "Giuditta e Oloferne"

  • On the left "Davide e Golia”

Towards the judgement’s wall:

  • on the right the "Serpente di bronzo"

  • on the left the "Punizione di Amàn"


Second share

  • The seven Biblical prophets 

  • The five pagan Sibyl


Third share
On the central rectangles:

  • la creazione del Mondo

  • la storia di Adamo

  • le vicende di Noè


THE LAST JUDGEMENT

Michelangelo’s work is inspired by the biblical texts and Dante’s Commedia.

On the left of Christ: Sant’Andrea, San Giovanni Battista.
Down: San Lorenzo, San Bartolomeo.
On the right: San Pietro.
Down: San Biagio and Santa Caterina d’Alessandria.
Next: San Sebastiano.

On the top of the fresco are depicted the symbols of the Passion of Christ: the Cross, the Crown of thorns, the Column of the Flagellation.

According to the Council of  Trent in 1565 the frescoes of the “Last Judgement” were retouched by Daniele da Volterra a Michelangelo’s disciple in order to cover the nudities. For this reason the poor Daniele was named the "braghettone" (pants).

 

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