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Michelangelo Buonarroti: The Last Judgement

Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475 – 1564

The Last Judgement

fresco (13,7 × 12,2 m) — 1534-1541 Museum Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Michelangelo Buonarroti biography

This work is linked to Revelation 15:6

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The angels in the middle blow their horns to raise the dead. One of them holds the Book in which all has been written down and upon which Jesus will base his judgment.

To the left, the chosen are escorted to Heaven by angels. To the right, the damned are going to Hell. Michelangelo was inspired by Dante's Inferno. Charon (with oar) and his devils are leading the damned to judge Minos (with snake).

Jesus is seated in the middle with his mother Mary at his side. The two large figures are Paul (left) and Peter (right, with keys in hand). The figure underneath and to the right of Jesus is St. Bartholomew - a self-portrait by Michelangelo. In his hand, his mortal skin.

Above in the lunettes are symbols of the Passion - the cross, the crown of thorns, the pillar of flagellation, the spear, and the sponge dipped in vinegar.

In scale, technique and drama The Last Judgment is an absolute highlight of Renaissance painting. The work, a fresco, was painted against the wall of the Sistine Chapel, the Pope's private chapel.

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