Universal Judgment: 1541
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on 6 March 1475.
He was known as simply, Michelangelo. He was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. Because of his versatility in so many disciplines that he is often considered the archetypal Renaissance man.
Michelangelo's output of work in various artistic and scientific fields during his life was prodigious. His volume of personal correspondence and sketches has made him the most documented artist of the 16th century. Michelangelo was known for his dislike of painting, yet Michelangelo painted two of the most influential paintings in the history of Western Art. These are the scenes from Genesis and The Last Judgment. The Last Judgment is a fresco (a mural painted with plaster) on the wall near the altar in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
The Last Judgment took four years to paint: from 1537 to 1541. Michelangelo began working on it thirty years after finishing the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Last Judgment depicts the second coming of Jesus Christ. The final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity is evident as well human souls go to heaven or hell as judged by Christ.
Christ’s raised right hand makes the figures on the left hand side, who are attempting to ascend to heaven, to be forced downwards to hell towards Charon and Minos, the Judge of the Underworld. Christ’s left hand is gesturing upwards the chosen people on his right in a ray of righteousness.
The planets and the sun, and the saints surround the Judge making orbits around Him. Michelangelo did not choose one specific set point from which the fresco should be viewed. The Last Judgment was a controversial object of an argument between Cardinal Carafa and Michelangelo. Michelangelo was accused of obscenity. The naked figures on the fresco inside the most popular church in the history of Christianity were not acceptable and 24 years later they had to be painted over.
Today visitors flock to the Sistine Chapel to see one of the most famous paintings in western art. Giorgio Vasari ( 1511-1574), a painter, writer, historian and architect wrote about the work thus: "This sublime painting, should serve as a model for our art. Divine Providence has bestowed it upon the world to show how much intelligence she can deal out to certain men on earth. The most expert draftsman trembles as he contemplates these bold outlines and marvelous foreshortenings. In the presence of this celestial work, the senses are paralyzed, and one can only wonder at the works that came before and the works that shall come after".