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Sistine Chapel - Home To Michelangelo's The Last Judgement
The Sistine Chapel, situated in the Apostolic Palace, is the official residence of the Pope. Access to the Sistine Chapel is included with your Vatican Museum tickets. When you visit the Vatican Museums and its 54 galleries, the Sistine Chapel will notably be the last room you visit.
The Sistine Chapel was built between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV and was named after him. Painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are considered to be a cornerstone of Renaissance art.
The Sistine Chapel is undoubtedly the highlight of every Vatican Museum visit. You will instantly know when you’re in the Sistine Chapel as the room gets extremely quiet and everyone inside can be found looking up, staring at the magnificent ceiling. Michelangelo’s frescoes adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, with paintings depicting stories from the lives of Jesus and Moses painted on the eastern, northern, and southern walls.
Why Visit the Sistine Chapel?
- Originally known as the Cappella Magna, meaning 'Great Chapel', the Sistine Chapel is known for the frescoes that line its interiors.
- The most prominent fresco here is the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgement, created by Michelangelo.
- You will also find frescos that depict the lives of Moses and Christ that had been created by Renaissance painters such as Botticelli, Perugino, Pinturicchio, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli.
- The Sistine Chapel is the Pope's own chapel, and the location for papal ceremonies like the election of the new Pope.
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tickets & Guided Tours
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tickets
You can access Sistine Chapel Access with Vatican Museums tickets. These tickets will allow you to skip the queue at the entrance and head straight to the security. Explore all the galleries within the Vatican Museums until you make your way to the last room: the Sistine Chapel, where you can view the famous frescoes.
You can also upgrade your experience with a handy audio guide, available in 10 languages, which will help you understand the various works of art better.
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tours
For those who wish to gain a more in-depth understanding of the paintings within the Sistine Chapel and the other galleries of the Vatican Museums, taking a guided tour is your best option. Guided tours also allow you to enjoy priority access to the Vatican Museums. Once inside, your guide will take you through the Vatican Museums galleries. The Sistine Chapel will be the last leg of the tour, Here you will be able to witness Michelangelo's genius and understand the works better, thanks to your expert guide.
Sistine Chapel Highlights
The Sistine Chapel Ceiling
The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 under the commission of Pope Julius II. Originally painted as golden stars on a blue sky, Michelangelo worked on the ceiling to convert it into one of the most famous works of art in the world. Michelangelo commenced the enormous undertaking after he built himself a scaffold to reach the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Over 40 scenes were painted onto the ceiling in the span of 4 years depicting nine stories of Genesis, ancestors of Jesus, the twelve Prophets, and Sibyls, as well as the salvation of the people of Israel.
The Last Judgement
The Last Judgement is probably the most famous single work of art in the Sistine Chapel. Covering the entire wall behind the altar, The Last Judgement was painted by Michelangelo from 1535 to 1541. The Last Judgement depicts the second coming of Christ on the Day of Judgment and is based on the 20th chapter of the Revelation of John. A heroic image of Jesus occupies the center of the wall with saints and prophets surrounding him. Common folk has been painted at the bottom of the wall. The painting is one of a kind in terms of its symbolism and size and has to be seen in person to truly feel its glory.
The Southern Wall
The southern wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the Stories of Moses. Painted in 1481-1482, some of the famous frescoes on the southern wall are:
- Moses Leaving to Egypt
- The Trials of Moses
- The Crossing of the Red Sea
- Handing over the Tablets of Law
- Descent from Mount Sinai
- Punishment of the Rebels
- Testament and Death of Moses
The cycle ends on the entrance wall with the Dispute over the body of Moses.
The Northern Wall
The northern wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the Stories of Jesus, painted in 1481-1482:
- Baptism of Christ
- Temptation of Christ
- Cleansing of the Leper
- Vocation of the Apostles
- The Sermon on the Mount
- The Delivery of the Keys
- The Last Supper
Beyond the windows, you will also find three episodes of the Passion: the Agony in the garden, the Arrest of Jesus, and the Crucifixion. The cycle ends with the Resurrection of Christ on the entrance wall.
The Entrance Wall of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the following frescoes that depict the final episodes in the lives of Christ and Moses:
• Resurrection of Christ
• Discussion over the body of Moses
The original frescos created by Ghirlandaio and Signorelli respectively were destroyed in 1522 when the architrave of the door collapsed. They were replaced in 1522 by the works of Hendrik van den Broeck and Matteo da Lecce.
Plan Your Visit to Sistine Chapel
Rules & Regulations
- You have to book your tickets online to enjoy access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
- Entry to the Vatican Museums, and hence, the Sistine Chapel, is only permitted to those who are appropriately dressed.
- Inside the Sistine Chapel, visitors are expected to observe absolute silence. Those traveling with tour groups will receive all the relevant before entering the Sistine Chapel. Totem touch screens are made available to authorized guides for this purpose.
- The use of mobile phones is forbidden in the Sistine Chapel.
- Visitors are not allowed to take photographs or videos.
All Your Questions About Sistine Chapel Answered
A. The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace that was built between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV. Aaprt from being a place of both religious and functionary papal activity, it is a tourist attraction thanks to the frescoes created by Michelangelo.
A. No, you need to go through the Vatican Museums to enter the Sistine Chapel as it is last of the 54 galleries inside the Vatican Museums.
A. Inside the Sistine Chapel you will be able to see the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling that had been painted by Michelangelo. You will be able to see depictions of the lives of Moses and Jesus here.
A. No, photography is strictly prohibited inside the Sistine Chapel.
A. Yes, visitors are expected to dress appropriately and modestly to gain entry into the Sistine Chapel.
A. Yes, guided tours of the Sistine Chapel will be available with your Vatican tour. However, it is important to remember that visitors are expected to observe absolute silence while inside the Sistine Chapel and so, your guide will provide you with all the explanations that you would need before you enter the chapel.
A. You should set aside at least an hour to view all the frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel.