Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh Noes!1!! Teh Evil West Strikes Again!

Actually, us Westerners aren't that evil as a species. People tend to be people, and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and mindsets.

That said, there has been a propensity for Western Civilisation to be rather more prolific in the arts than most other cultures.

The heights to which our architecture, and music for example have soared are - as biased as I probably sound - incomparable.

Again exposing my bias, our religious works in particular are beyond compare.

The pyramids in Egypt are amazing, the terracotta soldiers of China likewise, but how on earth can they compete with something as sublime as the Sistine Chapel?

A friend (hi, Merilyn!) sent me a link with the following blurb:
Here is an amazing bit of technology that you would never see in person, as you would NEVER be alone in the room. It is ALWAYS VERY CROWDED and of course you can't see Michaelangelo's artwork close up as you can here. This is especially spectacular if you have a large high-definition screen! Too many details to view on an iPhone.

TO VIEW EVERY PART OF THE MICHAELANGELO'S MASTERPIECE, JUST CLICK AND DRAG YOUR ARROW IN THE DIRECTION YOU WISH TO SEE. In the lower left, click on the plus (+) to move closer, on the minus (-) to move away. Choir is thrown in free. MOVE THE ARROW AND YOU WILL SEE EVERY PART OF THE CHAPEL.

This virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel is incredible. Apparently done by Villanova at the request of the Vatican .

I'll admit that I've never before taken a good look at the Sistine Chapel. It's been one of those things in the background of my life. You know the sort - we've heard of Pompeii and its destruction by Mount Vesuvius, for example, and I still remember years ago as a youngster Mum taking us kids into the Gallery to see an exhibition of casts taken of the victims.

This, however, is in a completely different category. An homage to God and His Creations that took years to finish, and still holds us enthralled centuries later.

From Sacred Destinations:
The Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, from whom it derives its name, in 1475. It was designed to be - and still is - the pope's chapel and the site of papal elections. The Sistine Chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15, 1483.

In 1481 Sixtus IV called to Rome the Florentine painters Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli and the Perugian Pietro Perugino to decorate the walls with frescoes. Luca Signorelli may have also been involved in the decoration. The fresco project took only 11 months, from July 1481 to May 1482.

The Sistine ceiling was originally painted by Piero Matteo d'Amelia, who included a star-spangled sky. But in 1508 Pope Julius II della Rovere commissioned Michelangelo to repaint the ceiling.

Michelangelo was called away from his work on the pope's own tomb and was he not happy about the change. He had always insisted he was a sculptor and was contemptuous of fresco painting. The result are glorious depictions of human bodies that could only be created by a sculptor, and the project Michelangelo hated so much (at least at first) ironically became his most well-known work.

Michelangelo was asked to paint the Twelve Apostles and a few ornaments on the ceiling of the chapel. But as he began work on the project, Michelangelo conceived grander designs and ended up painting more than 300 figures.

He worked on the project between 1508 and October 31, 1512, in cramped conditions high on a scaffolding and under continous pressure from the pope to hurry up. The project would permanently damage the artist's eyesight.

Hmmm. Now what was it I was thinking of doing before getting distracted by the wonderful voice of Tori Amos? Oh, that's right. I should be checking out the Sistine Chapel some more!


At 10:15 PM, Anonymous bill said...

saw it last year, but this is outstanding

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Nilk said...

Thanks, Bill. I was blown away by it. The attention to detail is staggering, and I honestly can't think of any modern artists who come close to this.


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