Paintings by Michelangelo

Famous Paintings by Michelangelo


The Torment of Saint Anthony


Year: c. 1487-1488
Dimensions: 47×35 cm
(18,5 in × 13,25 in)
Material: Oil and tempera on panel
Current Location: Kimbell Art Museum, Texas, USA

About the painting: This is the earliest known painting by Michelangelo, painted after an engraving by the german master Martin Schongauer when he was only 12 to 13 years old. The painting is an oil and tempera depiction of a common medieval subjec; Saint Anthony being teased and pulled by demons whose temptations he manages to resist. It is one of only four surviving panel paintings by Michelangelo.


Sistine Chapel Ceiling


Year: Between 1508-1512
Dimensions: The whole ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel
Material: Fresco
Location: The Sistine Chapel, Rome

About the painting: Michelangelo saw himself as a sculptor so he hesitated when he was asked to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. But he was persuaded by the pope who was the one who assigned him and in 1508, 33 years old, he started to work withe the ceiling.

The decoration on the ceiling includes nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, beginning with “God Separating Light from Darkness” and including the “Creation of Adam and Eve”, “the Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve”, and “the Flood”. Around the windows are painted the ancestors of Christ.

Michelangelo worked all by himself with the decoration of the ceiling after having fired all his assistants whom he was not satisfied with. The work high above the floor on scaffolding was very hard for him, both physically and emotionally. He finished the impressive work in 1512.

Did you know? Michelangelo had actually a very low opinion of painting, never the less he created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of western art! The two are “scenes from the Genesis”, (the ceiling, photo above) and “The Last Judgement”, (the altar wall, see further down), both in the Sistine Chapel.


The Last Judgement


Year: Between 1536-41
Dimensions: 1463×1341 cm
Material: Fresco, tempera
Movement: Italian renaissance
Current location: The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City Rome

About the painting: It took Michelangelo eight years to complete this enormous painting. It covers the entire altar wall in the Sistine Chapel. In the middle you can see Christ, separating the good from the evil. Joy and harmony is not something that springs to mind when studying this incredible piece of art. Where is the forgiving Christ we would expect on such a day? Mary turns her face away. It would seem Michelangelo was not entirely happy in performing his task. The painting contains many details that you normally wouldn’t find in a church.

Did you know? This detail from the middle of the fresco depicts St Bartholomew, excellently sculptured, holding his own flayed skin. This is actually a self portrait by Michelangelo.

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