Scripture on the Ceiling

By   /  June 2, 2010  /  No Comments

Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel make a profound statement about the creation story—and the artist’s own creativity.

By James Romaine

Every year more than 3,000,000 pilgrims and tourists from around the world flock to the Vatican in Rome and crane their necks to peer upwards at one of the most famous artistic masterpieces in Western culture: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

From God’s creation of the world to Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden to Noah’s Ark, Michelangelo’s frescoes (art made by painting in wet plaster) are some of the most dramatic and inspiring representations of Genesis ever imagined. Surrounding the nine central scenes that run the length of the chapel are frescoes of Hebrew prophets and ancient seers. In niches and corners between painted columns and arches are even more biblical scenes. In this vast visual drama, Michelangelo presents a storyline of grace foretold through the prophets, incarnate in Christ, and present in the sacraments of the church. His frescoes are a magnificent example of how a Christian artist can interpret Scripture through art.

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Photo by Aaron Logan

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