The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Ceiling Turns 500
This newspaper article discusses the creation of Michelangelo's Sistine chapel ceiling, which be began five centuries ago (it was a long project). The author does a good job pointing out the mysteries of just how the artist actually planned this monumental work. This especially is true if, as recent scholarship proposes, many of the "working" drawings for the ceiling are fact copies of finished ceiling.

I was fortunate to have as an undergraduate an entire course on Michelangelo taught by David Summers who is a leading authority on the artist. It was an amazing course. Although I don't favor the ceiling's blatant breaking of the fourth commandment, it is a great aesthetic achievement nontheless. Surely Michelangelo is greatest artist who ever lived.

At the bottom of the article the author gets into the question of assistants helping, or some cases, primarily making works of art. This is a vexing question. I have thought about putting together an essay exploring this practice viz. the artistic production of everyone's favorite wipping boy - Thomas Kinkade.