The Sistine Chapel. Everybody knows it. Tourists tramp through it. In a queue.
As a room, it’s just a room.
A room several stories high whose walls are decorated with art.
And what art! Some of the greatest art in the history of the world.
Louis Sullivan, one of my architectural heroes, spent three days in Rome in the late nineteenth century, two of them in the Sistine Chapel.
“Needless to say [says Sullivan’s biographer Hugh Morrison], it was Michelangelo’s great ceiling paintings which held him. Michelangelo became for him another [hero], and greater than Wagner. “Here Louis communed in silence with a Super-Man. Here he felt and saw and great Free Spirit. Here he was filled with the awe that stills. . . . Here was power as he had seen it in the mountains…, in the prairies, in the open sky. . . . Here was the living presence of a man who had done things in the beneficence of power.”
Art full of power, in the service of bad philosophy.
But great art. And you can see it all, up close, in context--almost as if you were there—at The Vatican’s Sistine Chapel website
It took the great Michelangelo three years to paint the ceiling, and another year to paint The Last Judgement. So why not spend an evening with the great man, and see why he’s so deservedly revered.
The website and its gadget takes a while to load, even at high speed, but once it does, you've got this amazing ability to pan and zoom all over the room. Enjoy! [Hat tip Scott Powell]