500th Anniversary to the day of the unveiling of the ceiling frescoes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the unveiling of the ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo, which on this very evening 31st October in 1512, Pope Julius II celebrated with Solemn Vespers. Pope Benedict XVI did the same to mark the occasion this evening. There have been podcasts about the event on BBC Radio 3 by A C Grayling, Rev Lucy Winkett and Rachel Campbell-Johnson.
The already existing scheme in the chapel links Christ with Moses , his precursor, and the Popes, the vicars of Christ, showing the continuity before, during and after redemption. Michelangelo was charged with repainting the ceiling in 1508 following damage. He painted nine scenes from Genesis, the first three of God’s act of creation of the universe, the middle three of the creation of Adam and Eve. In the last three humanity enslaved to sin is represented in The Flood scenes and Drunkenness of Noah. Alongside and looking onto these scenes of the hisory of humanity’s enslavement to sin are the ignudi, which represent man created in the image of God, and below, the sibyls and prophets, who predict the coming of the Messiah and the awaited redemption.
The most well known is the central scene of the creation of Adam ‘in the image and likeness of God’ (Gen 1:26) Michelangelo has the audacity to transfer to the Creator, the same visible and corporeal beauty as he has given to Adam, and yet still God is clad in infinite majesty. Michelangelo portrays the hope of a world transfigured.

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