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Sistine Chapel Ceiling: A Detail

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The panel showing the creation of man is probably the best-known scene in the famous fresco by Michelangelo on the ceiling the Sistine Chapel.
Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

The creation of Adam is perhaps the best known panel in the famous Sistine Chapel. Notice that the composition is off-center.

Photo © Fotopress/Getty Images

The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican has many frescoes painted in it, yet is most famous for the frescoes on the ceiling by Michelangelo. Extensive restoration was done between 1980 and 1994 by Vatican art experts, removing centuries' worth of smoke from candles and previous restoration work. This revealed colors much brighter than previously thought.

Pigments Michelangelo used included ochre for reds and yellows, iron silicates for greens, lapis lazuli for blues, and charcoal for black.1 Not everything is painted in as much detail it first appears. For instance figures in the foreground are painted in more detail than those in the background, adding to the sense of depth in the ceiling.

• Find out a bit more and view a photo of the whole Sistine Chapel ceiling.

More on the Sistine Chapel:
Vatican Museums: Sistine Chapel
Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel
History of the Sistine Chapel and its Frescoes

1. Vatican Museums: The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City State website, accessed 9 September 2010.

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