On This Day, Nov 1, 1512 – Sistine Chapel Ceiling Opens to Public

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s finest works, is exhibited to the public for the first time. Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese in 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. After demonstrating his mastery of sculpture in such works as the Pieta (1498) and David(1504), he was called to Rome in 1508 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—the chief consecrated space in the Vatican. Michelangelo’s epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works. Central in...

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