The Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescos that decorate the interior, and most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

During the reign of Sixtus IV, a team of Renaissance painters that included Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Roselli, created a series of frescos depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ, offset by papal portraits above and trompe l'oeil drapery below. These paintings were completed in 1482, and on 15 August 1483 Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel's ceiling, a project which changed the course of Western art and is regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments of human civilization. In a different climate after the Sack of Rome, he returned and between 1535 and 1541, painted The Last Judgment for Popes Clement VII and Paul III. The fame of Michelangelo's paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors to the chapel ever since they were revealed five hundred years ago.

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Founded: 1477
Category: Religious sites in Vatican City State

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User Reviews

Syrilda Foreman (3 years ago)
Breathtaking art throughout the Vatican, especially the Sistine Chapel. Go with a very small group. Long lines, very warm chapel because of the body heat. It was worth the trip and money! Would love to visit again.
Алина Мельникова (3 years ago)
My advice if you are really big fan of arts and there are not so big line to get inside, you have to go , but definitely you should bring an excursion, because you don’t understand anything in this museum. For me the museum was neutral, but I didn’t sorry, because I realized it for my personal experience and didn’t stand in a large queue.
Hannah Buttle (3 years ago)
Very pretty! But tour groups are incredibly overwhelming and makes it hard to appreciate or enjoy. Best time to visit is a Tuesday but even then was over shadowed by big groups
Sina Kashani (3 years ago)
It is a long walk into the most amazing collection of wall arts and sealing paintings. Hall after hall, you pass through paintings, wall hangings, wall arts, statues and animated exhibitions. The collection could have been better presented if there were descriptions but still and amazing.
Josh Funnell (3 years ago)
The artwork is spectacular, truly a feat of human talent, wherever you look you are met with beautiful Renaissance painting. The volume of tourists is intense on a Monday, and silence is asked for but not met. Entry is only possible through the Vatican museum which costs around €17, but getting a tour guide is recommended on days like Mondays, but can bring the cost up, these allow you to bypass the queues which can take hours and hours.
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