The Sistine Chapel: History and Meaning

The Sistine Chapel: History and Meaning

Paper given by Charles Rosenberg

Delivered at Spring Hill College, Alabama, on 5 October 2017

The Sistine Chapel in Rome is one of the most famous monuments of the Italian Renaissance. The images which adorn the altar wall of this chapel are so ingrained in our minds and our culture that Michelangelo’s representation of Creation, particularly of Adam and the inspiring gesture of God, are found throughout popular culture. Indeed, the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are almost universally accepted as a part of the central canon of Western art, and their creator has been accorded the status of synthentic alchemist.

Charles Rosenberg is professor emeritus of art history at the University of Notre Dame.

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