On this day in 1512, the ceiling frescoes of Rome’s Sistine Chapel were unveiled to the public. Today they see around 5 million tourists a year looking to catch a glimpse of the art. Here are 5 more facts, about the famous Sistine Chapel.
- There is a small side room nicknamed the Room of Tears: This is where the newly elected pope goes to relieve the emotion of the election process.
- Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel art was touched up in restorations: Between 1980 and 1999, experts restored many pieces in the Chapel, this included Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment.” Specialists dissolved layers of grime and soot, brightening the colors of the centuries-old paintings.
- The chapel has the same dimensions as the Temple of Solomon: Being the Holy place it is.. it was constructed based off the dimensions given for the Temple in the Old Testament.
- The many nudes have caused controversy in the past: In 1564, the Council of Trent deemed the images indecent and ordered Daniele da Volterra to cover them up with fig leaves, clothing and other items. This was later undone in the restorations.
- Michelangelo wanted nothing to do with the Sistine Chapel: He considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter, and had no experience whatsoever with frescoes, so he was very reluctant to accept the job. He hated it so much he actually wrote a poem about it.. in the poem he wrote, “I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,”… “I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.”