The Sistine Chapel is one of the chapels of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City State, where the pope’s official residence is located. Originally it worked like the chapel of the Vatican fort and was known like Cappella Magna. Its name comes from Pope Sixtus IV who ordered its restoration between 1473 and 1481. Since that time this chapel has served to celebrate papal acts and ceremonies of the Catholic Church.
During the pontificate of Sixtus IV, a group of Renaissance painters were called to perform works in the chapel, among them Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli and Luca Signorelli. Two series of fresco panels were made, one on the life of Moses to the left of the altar and another on the life of Jesus Christ on the right. These panels were accompanied by portraits of the popes who had governed the Church until then. The paintings were finished in 1482, and on the occasion of the festivity of the Assumption, Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the chapel consecrating it to the Virgin Mary.
Commissioned by Pope Julius II, Michelangelo decorated the vault of the chapel, all frescoes from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are the work of this brilliant artist who took four years to complete the work, from 1508 to 1512, creating a work of art unprecedented that would change the course of Western art. Years later, between 1536 and 1541, painted the Final Judgment in the wall of the altar, for the popes Clement VII and Pope Paul III.
Over 500 years later, Michelangelo’s frescoes with their extraordinary iconographic complexity continue to attract a multitude of visitors and art critics as are considered one of the top works of the history of painting.