DAY IN HISTORY: Sistine Chapel ceiling open to public

THE world's most famous neck crinker - the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - was first exhibited to the public on this day in 1512.

Famed Italian artist Michelangelo began construction on the multiple works that cover the ceiling after he was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508.

Michelangelo, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was already a celebrated sculpture in such works as the Pieta (1498) and David (1504) when he undertook the project.

Central to his master plan of frescoes were nine panels devoted to biblical history, with the most famous of these being The Creation of Adam, a painting that depicts God and Adam stretching out to each other.

Nearly six million tourists crane their necks every year to get a glimpse of the famous ceiling.
Nearly six million tourists crane their necks every year to get a glimpse of the famous ceiling.

The work was an intense undertaking with Michelangelo enduring long hours and "uncomfortable conditions".

However, the laborious work proved inspiring: Michelangelo designing his own scaffold to help him complete the project.

And after four years, complete it he did, with a total of 343 painted figures staring down from up high, recalling the story of religion.

Now, the chapel and its famed ceiling is one of the most visited locations in the world with some six million people craning their necks every year.


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