Shirley Smith

Renaissance Art Historian

Tel. +44 (0)1728 638 271

Email. [email protected]


The Garden House, Bruisyard,

Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 2ED

Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

How many people when looking at Michelangelo's decoration of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, or his painting of the 'Last Judgement', ever give a thought to the Popes who commissioned them? Or to the problems besetting the Church at that time? Yet they span a period when the supremacy of the Papacy was under increasing threat and the Catholic Church itself faced one of the greatest challenges to its authority: the Reformation.


This lecture will look at these two works in the light of these challenges and how Michelangelo's revolutionary approach responded to, and in turn reflected, these challenges.






Michelanelo The Ceiling, Sistine Chapel 1508-12

Image source: Web Gallery of Art