While nothing can overshadow the paintings inside the Sistine Chapel, its architecture, designed by Baccio Pontelli, is nothing to be snuffed at. The Chapels internal measurements are 134 ft long by 44 ft wide, and the vaulted ceiling rises 68 feet. There are six windows on each side and two at either end. The ceiling is a flattened barrel vault that is cut transversely by smaller vaults over each window. It was originally painted a brilliant blue hue and dotted with gold stars designed by Pier Matteo d Amelia. The internal space is divided into three stories, the lowest being a robustly vaulted basement with several utilitarian windows and a doorway leading to the exterior court. The pavement is done in opus alexandrium, a decorative style using marble and colored stone that marks the processional way from the main door. The exterior is surprisingly, plain, a simple high, rectangular brick building unadorned by architectural or decorative details which were common in Medieval and Renaissance churches in Italy.
The ceiling was painted absolutely incredibly by Michelangelo from 1508 to 1511. The paintings were a commission of Pope Julius II. He painted nine panels one the ceiling showing the stories of Genesis, from the Creation to the Fall of man, to the Flood and the subsequent rebirth of mankind with the family of Noah. The paintings are titled, Drunkenness of Noah, The Flood, Sacrifice of Noah, Original Sin and Banishment from the Garden of Eden, Creation of Eve, Creation of Adam, Separation of Land from Sea, Creation of the Sun, Moon and Planets, Separation of Light from Darkness.
Michelangelo scraped the Popes original design for the Chapel (which was simply the twelve apostles) and created his own design, which included sketches of more than 3000 figures. Michelangelo was rebellious of the Popes authority as he refused to paint simply what the Pope asked for and continually argued with the Pope about what was going onto the ceiling. The Pope continually went up the scaffolds to check and see what Michelangelo was up to and refused to pay Michelangelo until the piece was finished, which sent Michelangelo into poverty. When Michelangelo finished “The Last Judgement”, he was accused of “immorality and intolerable obscenity” inside the most important church of Christianity. A censorship campaign, known as the fig-leaf campaign, was started by the Popes master of ceremonies, Biagio da Cesenathe. The year of Michalangelos death, a law was issued that all genitals must be covered, so Daniele da Volterra, an apprentice of Michelangelos covered the genitals in painting but thankfully left the masterfully done bodies untouched. It seems to me the paintings are very supportive of all Christianity and Judaism as they show beautiful scenes representing some of