October 31st marks two important anniversaries in the history of art.
On October 31st 1512, Michelangelo completed his work on the painting of the ceiling of the Cappella Sistina, which he had begun in May 1508. Pope Julius II (r. 1503-1513) celebrated Vespers in the chapel in thanksgiving.
Exactly 29 years later, on October 31st 1541, Pope Paul III (r. 1534-49) inaugurated the altar wall fresco, also painted by Michelangelo, which depicts the Last Judgement.
In 1787, the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: 'Until you have seen the Sistine Chapel, you can have no adequate conception of what man is capable of accomplishing'.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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