between 1475 and 1483, in the time of Pope Sixtus IV, the Sistine
Chapel is rectangular in shape and measures 40.93 meters long by 13.41 meters
wide, i.e. the exact dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, in
Jerusalem. It is 20.70 meters high and is roofed by a flattened barrel vault,
with little side vaults over the centered windows. The architectural plans were
made by Baccio Pontelli and the construction work was supervised by Giovannino
de' Dolci. The first Mass in the Sistine Chapel was celebrated on August 9, 1483.
The wall paintings were
executed by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli,
Luca Signorelli and others.
Buonarroti was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 to repaint the ceiling;
the work was completed between 1508 and 1512.
photograph below of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling is in fact an image map, linked
to photographs of its principal panels depicting the story of the Creation and
Fall. By scrolling your cursor from the top to the bottom this image, you will
be able to move to a larger image of that ceiling panel. Then hit the back key
to return to the image map, or hit "next" to continue exploring the
individual panels. (Note that the chronological order is reversed with the
creation story beginning at the "bottom" of this image, and subsequent
events appearing toward the top.)
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.