Marvel at the Sistine Chapel
'I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish'
- Michelangelo -
The Sistine Chapel is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible places any human could ever visit in a lifetime.
Although it is smaller and darker than what you’d expect, its beauty and grandeur speak volumes.
Michelangelo’s magnificent frescoed ceiling is a breathtaking and overwhelmingly beautiful example of Renaissance art that draws you in and captivates you. There is no speaking or photos permitted inside the Chapel - although people frequently break this rule, which is a shame - and I humbly followed this request, allowing my eyes and my heart to do the speaking for me.
You could literally spend hours looking up at the ceiling, deciphering the messages - both implicit and explicit - Michelangelo created within his masterpiece.
I tried to picture him, laying on his scaffold high above the floor, paint dripping into his eyes as he created this exquisite work of art. Not only is the artwork incredible, including the awe-inspiring masterpiece, The Last Judgment, which covers the entire wall behind the altar, but the architecture and design of the Chapel itself will blow you away.
It is a space that both intimidates and embraces you. It draws you in, but also keeps you at an arm’s distance, an interesting sensation to feel in a room, no doubt.
Although I am not a religious person by nature, I did close my eyes and offer up a prayer of gratitude whilst inside. I was so humbled and overwhelmed by Michelangelo’s obvious devotion to the cultivation and creation of his talent, and thus his art. His life’s greatest work spread out above the ceiling and along the altar, all for me to gaze upon in wonder, appreciation, and respect.
What an amazing human he must have been to have given such a beautiful gift to this world.
As I left the Vatican deeply humbled, I couldn’t help but wonder if Michelangelo had ever thought that this enormous undertaking would ensure he would be remembered for all time as one of the greatest Renaissance artists, especially considering he was known as a sculptor, not a painter.
This made me think how lovely fate is; sometimes the biggest opportunities for greatness fall out of nowhere and seem impossible at first. However, if you are willing to try your best, and you carry hope in your heart, then maybe you will create a masterpiece for all to marvel at for centuries to come.