The non existing picture of the Sistine Chapel
Thursday 8 March 2018 10:37
I asked myself what the pope would do, entering his private chapel, the so-called Cappella Magna. Vasari makes it clear for us: Paul III allegedly fell on his knees when he first saw it and exclaimed, “O Lord, charge me not with my sins when you come on the day of Judgment.” And of course, he would kneel on the porpxhyr stone at the door. The same would do Michelangelo for five long years while he was painting the last Judgement. What he would see in that moment is the non-existing picture of the Sistine Chapel. You would think that after 17 years of intense cleaning & restoration, the Vatican must have pictures from every point of view of the Chapel. I did an extensive research on google, going through thousands of images of the Sistine Chapel, I checked every book in the bookshop of the Vatican ... and it isn’t there. All the images of the Last Judgement are token in front of the Iconostasis - the rood screen or the Cancello, or from the balcony above the door. None, but absolutely none, is token from where the pope would kneel and what he would have seen in that position. But to understand it fully, we have to go back to what was painted there before by Perugino: The Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Chapel was inaugurated on the 15 of August 1475, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. As you can see in the above pictures, also the work of Perugino had a division between an upper part and a lower one. And with purpose. If this is a vertical division between Heaven and Earth, there is also a horizontal division by the marble screen, the so-called rood screen or Cancello.