Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an incredible Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect and engineer. He was one of the most eminent and brilliant artists in Western world and his masterpieces rank among the most celebrated works in existence. Ahead, we explore some of his most influential artworks from the Pietà sculpture to the iconic Sistine Chapel in the heart of Rome.
Pietà: St. Peter’s Basilica
Located in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pietà, meaning compassion, is a soul-stirring life-like sculpture that illustrates a crying Virgin Mary, holding the body of Jesus after he was crucified. At 24, Michelangelo chiselled this tender artwork. The intricate details of Jesus’ flesh and Mother Mary’s drapery are beyond breathtaking. No wonder, this is a clear testament of the master craftsman’s early artistry and flair! An absolute no-miss!
Behind a glass screen, the Pietà stands protected in a side chapel just to the right of the entrance of the basilica.
Opening hours of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City: 7 AM to 7 PM (April-Sept) and 7 AM to 6 PM (Oct-Mar)
We recommend booking the best Vatican City tours. The expert guides and skip-the-line advantage ensures you get an experience of a lifetime!
Moses: Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
Head to the church of San Pietro in Vincoli adjacent to the Colosseum and soak in one of the most enduring works of art by Michelangelo, an awe-inspiring marble statue of Moses. It is celebrated for its innate sense of dynamism – the reserved energy of this horned sculpture, even in a seated posture, is admirable.
Apparently, Moses is a tiny fragment of an ambitious structure that was to include 20 statues. However, due to Michelangelo’s other commitments (including the Sistine Chapel), he couldn’t finish this enormous tomb of Pope Julius II; instead, he created a smaller version of it in the shape of Moses.
Entry to the church is free and open from 8 AM to 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM to 6 PM daily.
Sistine Chapel Ceiling: Vatican Museums
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo’s most famous work of art. The exquisite ceiling contains 343 figures in total and represents interesting narratives from the Old Testament, such as the Fall of Man, the Creation and the Promise of Salvation. The renowned sculptor painstakingly worked on the intricate images of biblical scenes between 1508 and 1512. Expect vivid colours, elaborate details and a masterful use of the chiaroscuro shading technique.
Also, don’t miss gawking at Michelangelo’s other timeless piece, The Last Judgement. Inspired by the Divine Comedy by Dante, the fresco on the altar wall depicts the final judgement scenes as per Christianity. The gap between the two murals is of 25 years and if you observe them closely, you will find how the maestro’s artistic vision changed over time.
The Museum is open from 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday to Saturday (but entry is only allowed till 4 PM).
The vast interior of the museum is spectacular, especially for first-time visitors. Nevertheless, it can be daunting as well; for an unforgettable experience, book an encompassing Vatican museum tour. You can even combine Vatican private tours with Papal Audience and meet the Pope and seek his Holy blessings. Find out more at our official website, Vatican Tours.
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