The Rennaisance: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel (1508 to 1512)

We have previously discussed the scientific, mathematical, architectural, artistic and political achievements of medieval Islamic culture during what has been called the Dark Ages of Western culture. We also have discussed how, in the decline of Spanish Islamic political power and of its former cultural bloom, Christian cultures picked up the gauntlet, filled the vacuum, and carried each of those Islam fields of achievement to yet greater heights. We have previously discussed the development of artistic skills from medieval scholastic authority to Renaissance naturalistic skills and visual representations on a two-dimensional plane suggesting a three-dimensional view during the Renaissance. Da Vinci certainly made his contributions to mathematics, science, art, and even to the arts of war. However, in terms of art in service to religion and sculpture, generally, no one exceeds Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.

For an excellent, intelligent but quite accessible article addressing Renaissance humanism as expressed both in the arts and the sciences, see

An Aerial view of the present exterior of the Chapel

  For the source of the above photograph, see

I suppose that everyone gets  e-mails forwarding an interesting site.  One such e-mails from a friend to me is a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel,the mosaic art of its floor,  the architecture of its interior structure and within that structure  and upon its walls the art of Michelangelo.  The site is shown below.  You may navigate through this virtual tour with your direction arrows  – oh, and if you want a close-up of any of the art, use the “+” sign to zoom and , or if you want zoom out, use the “-” sign.   This interactive, virtual tour of the Chapel interior and its art  demonstrates  both the variety among its various parts  as well as their unity as a whole.  To complete the experience, it is accompanied by an a cappella choir singing polyphonic music of the Renaissance, likely some part of the mass, and possibly incorporates recognized chant melodic material. Parenthetically, it may be worth noting that we commonly  think of a cappella music as that which is not accompanied with instruments. That is true, but it’s actual origin and meaning refers to music in “the Chapel,” as in the Sistine Chapel.  that is the reason that it is unaccompanied, because the Catholic Church frowned upon the use of instruments in worship. Here is your virtual tour:


For excellent discussions of the details of Michelangelo’s art, see

For excellent educational materials on essential qualities of Rennaisance art, see .

For more virtual 360 degree virtual tours of the Vatican grounds see and for those of many sites around the world, see  These are marvelous resources.  I have never left North America, likely never will under the circumstances, but I do expect to venture there virtually with resources of this site.

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