The Cappella Sistina or Sistine Chapel was built between 1475 and 1483. It was designed by Baccio Pontelli and its construction was supervised by Giovannino de'Dolci. Its dimensions match precisely those of the Temple of Solomon as given in the Old Testament of the Bible: 40.93 m x 13.41 m. It can be found in Vatican City inside Rome.

The chapel is best known for the ceiling, commissioned in 1508 and painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti, depicting the various scenes from the book of Genesis, but most famously "The creation of Adam". By no means is that the only significant work there, however. There's also "The Last Supper", painted by Cosimo Rosselli and other frescoes by artists including Sandro Botticelli who painted "The Temptations of Christ".

If you're planning a visit, the chapel itself can be reached only by passing through the Vatican Museum. After admiring the amazing treasures housed in the museum, you'll reach the Chapel. It is truly a breathtaking sight, and photographs and postcards of it can only hint at the sense of awe one feels upon stepping inside. All the Vatican staff in the world could not enforce the "silence" requirement for visitors - you'll gasp in amazement as you first see it, and continue to make involuntary noises as you gaze upon the walls and ceiling with your mouth hanging open.

Standing six feet from "The Last Supper" or directly below "The Creation of Adam" is an experience that is quite simply impossible to describe. You might be surprised at just how small and insignificant this famous work of art appears when viewed alongside the rest of the ceiling, or compared with "The Last Judgement" behind the altar, also painted by Michelangelo.

As an aside: in the film "Good Will Hunting", Robin Williams' character tells Will that he bets that he can't tell him what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. In case you ever wondered about that, I can tell you that it smells musty and old, a bit like an old museum or library. :)


Some information taken from http://www.christusrex.org/, where you will find many detailed photographs of the artwork and indeed the chapel itself. Take a look!

The Sistine Chapel is indeed breathtakingly beautiful. Pictures of the place don't really do it justice (though artbook photos will let you see details you can't possibly glimpse when you go through).

Michelangelo's masterpieces in the Chapel -- which if you've seen work taken from Pompeii etc. you'll see were influenced by ancient Roman art -- very well demonstrates the painter's genius. The masterful work of the other Renaissance artists who did the Chapel's walls looks stiff and lifeless next to his.

Eve, the mother of mankind, is at the center of the ceiling. When the ceiling was first unveiled, a couple of the old cardinals were aghast and enraged that a naked woman was the centerpiece of their ceiling. They actually demanded that the ceiling be torn down. Fortunately, the others were not so blind, and the ceiling was left unmolested.

If you decide to visit the Chapel while you're in Rome, be aware that it's likely to be very crowded, and you might only have 20 minutes or so to gaze up in wonder. However, in my opinion the wait and crowding is entirely worth the experience.

Also, before you leave, take a moment to look down. The floor displays some truly excellent tilework. Some now-nameless artisan poured his heart and soul and probably many years of his life into creating that floor, and it is trod on by millions who never notice it.

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