Talk:Sistine Chapel ceiling

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Good article Sistine Chapel ceiling has been listed as one of the Art and architecture good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
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March 17, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
September 29, 2007 Featured article candidate Not promoted
June 3, 2009 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article


Removed request for more images of spandrels, because there was only one. There are now four. --Amandajm 13:14, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Michelangelo's state of flow ("in the zone")[edit]

Some time ago (a year or two, perhaps) this article stated a well-known fact, that Michelangelo was in a sort of flow state or "in the zone" while painting la volta della Capella Sistina. I could not find this assertion upon reading the article again as of 20 of January, 2012. I wonder why would that be removed from the article, being that it is not only interesting but highly relevant for the psychology of arts. Anyone with sources is welcome to add that bit about Michelangelo's flow state again to the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I have looked through the history and can find any evidence of that opinion in this article. I want to stress that it is "opinion" rather than "a well-known fact". Amandajm (talk) 04:21, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


This page has contained one major and several lesser errors from the outset. I'm going to have to rewrite that which is seriously inaccurate, and correct the lesser errors.

The diagram needs fixing as well. Can someone with the skills to do it please contact me! --Amandajm 00:20, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Don't worry about the diagram. It's been replaced. --Amandajm 07:55, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Images of God[edit]

Just a thought... isn't creating images of god a sin in christianity? Could somebody clarify why the church would allow pictures of god on the ceiling of a chapel? 13:49, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

The creation of an image for the purpose of education, enlightenment or enjoyment is not seen as sinful. The sin comes in if the object is then worshipped.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is admired, but it's certainly not worshipped, so this doen't constitute a problem. Rigth through the history of the Christian church, probably starting in the Catacombs outside Rome, the painting of figures representing Christian subjects has been common. In the earliest times Jesus was usually depicted in the guise of a Roman shepherd, with a sheep across his shoulders, because he said "I am the Good Shepherd." (Referring to Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall want for nothing, he leads me into the green pastures and beside the quiet waters."

In the Dark Ages, when few people could read, painted pictures were a way of reminding the illiterate of the Bible stories. Scenes of the Creation and Adam and Eve were common. So were pictures of the Day of Judgement. They were to inform, and to warn. They were not to worship.

The problem arises with so called objects of veneration. If a picture or a statue becomes something that is used by a Christian to help them focus their attention while praying, or to contemplate on a religiious subject, the Suffering of Jesus for example. Then a grey area is reached where the object itself can take on mystical significance.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, this brought about a revolution in the 8th century when people were forbidden to have religious paintings. Thousands were destroyed. Very few remain from before 800AD.

But this ruling was overturned. It has been very common in the Catholic Church to pray before statues. It doesn't mean that the statue is worshipped. But quite frequently it is claimed that the image itself is miraculous because Christ, or more frequently, the Virgin Mary, is working through the statue.

While on one hand, some healings seem miraculous, I don't think that an image is the thing that has brought it about. None-the-less, some of these images, The Miraculous Virgin of Guadalupo and the Holy Infant of Prague for example, are so popular that they are reproduced in plaster and can be found in countless churches, with candles and flowers in front of them.

To a member of a Reformed church (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian etc) this is all quite problematic and is part of the reason that these churches broke away from Rome.

But as for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. No, it hhas never caused controversy in Christianity abbout the depiction of God, as far as I know. What got people really up-in-arms was the depiction of the Virgin Mary naked on the Day of Judgement.

Michelangelo's Pieta is another matter. Before it was put behind an armour-plate window, the faithful were able to touch the bleeding feet of Christ. People would weep when they saw it. (There's a wiki article about this sort of thing at Stendahl Syndrome, it's not just the religios feeling, it's also the beauty of the statue which causes this to happen). Anyway, an Hungarian Australian by the name of Lazlo Toft, a devout Christian, tried to smash it up with a hammer for this reason. He was gaoled, of course. And the Pope (unfortunately) said "He must be punished for damaging a work of religious veneration". The Pope had no understanding of Toft's righteous and fanatical religious feeling.

I, personally, see most Christian art as a wonderful way of introducing people to a greater knowledge of Christian faith, because i am, myself a Christian.

--Amandajm 03:25, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

The Restoration[edit]

Should there be a small section on the restoration in the 80's? Perhaps. --Kansaikiwi 12:38, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


I think pope is lower case unless it comes right before the name of the pope (Pope Sixtus IV, the pope).

Use of Capital letters in this article[edit]

  • Pope. If you are writing about popes in a general way, then you don't use a capital. If you write about a specific pope, then you do, even if he is not named. eg. Pope Julius II commissioned Michelagelo. Michelangelo was working on the Pope's tomb.
  • Church. The word is capitalised if it means not just a building but the Catholic Church or the Holy Church throughout the World. In this article every reference to "Church" means the Catholic Church and must be capitalised.
  • Humankind. This is a race (an inclusive one) and needs a capital in this instance.
  • Virtues, qualities, concepts etc. Christianity, Humanism, Sin, Redemption, Faith, Hope, Love etc. are all given caps when they are used in this sense.

--Amandajm 18:08, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Was clothing added during the restoration?[edit]

When I was a young school kid (circa 1991, I guess), I remember sitting in class and watching a news report on Channel One claiming that as part of the ceiling restoration, they were soon going to be painting clothing onto some/all (can't remember) of the currently-nude people in the paintings. They showed "artist's renderings" of the pending changes for a few sections of the ceiling, with all the former nude people now wrapped up in cloth like Jesus wears in traditional crucifixion paintings (like this one. I was only 11-ish at the time but I was outraged that they would do something so horrible and ridiculous; plus the "edits" looked obvious and awful. I can't remember much about the news report (it was ~15 years ago and I was in elementary school), but they made out like the decision had already been made and the censorship was going to be done to the ceiling in the near future. Never having heard otherwise, I've been upset and angry about it ever since then, not just about the defilement of such a famous artwork, but also about people's apparant apathy and ignorance because I never saw any other coverage or protests about the censorship.

But I just recently checked several Wikipedia articles, and I can't find any reference that this ever actually happened! Did it? The article mentions controversy about cleaning the grime from the ceiling, but it says nothing about painting clothing on the nude figures, which would surely be a hundred times as controversial!

If it never happened, then what was the deal with that news report I saw circa 1991? Were there originally plans to conceal the nudity that were later (thankfully) abandoned? Who drew the awful "updated version" that I saw on the news? Or is my memory completely faulty, and maybe I've confused the Sistine Chapel with some other work of art that was being subjected to a censorship restoration? 02:39, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

  • No, the ceiling was not altered by the addition of clothing during the cleaning. Maybe you are referring to the censorship of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
  • I made numerous copy edits, but left the hyperbolic line about reaching up and touching the ceiling; don't know why, but I rather like it. JNW 17:33, 13 November 2006 (UTC)


I've just rewritten most of this article. With regards to links, I know that there are people out there who want everything linked every time and spend a lot of time doing it.

I haven't chosen to do that here. Terms that are used repeatedly do not require a link every time. Michelangelo is linked at the beginning. So are other important words and names like Pope Julius II, Vasari, Ignudi, Creation etc. Subsequently, they are not linked every time they are mentioned, in order to make other significant links readily apparent.

--Amandajm 04:45, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

"tightening up prose"[edit]

Before "tightening up" well-written prose, one needs to consider what one is cutting.

A sentence that said that "War broke out" became linked by a colon to the fact that the Pope's tomb sculptures were not finished. No!. That isn't what was either written or implied. The war was not the reason that the sculptures weren't finished.

  • Michelangelo didn't want the ceiling job; he wanted to continue on the tomb sculptures.
  • War broke out and the Pope went away to fight, distracting him from the ceiling. (the fact that the Pope was a military leader got cut out as well)
  • Michelangelo left Rome and went back to sculpting but
  • the sculptures were "never to be finished" because
  • the Pope returned, victorious, and got Michelangelo to leave the scupture and do the ceiling.

--Amandajm 14:34, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Passed GA[edit]

It's pretty good, and I felt it worthy of GA. The automated peer review suggests:

  • Avoid including galleries in articles, as per Wikipedia:Galleries. Common solutions to this problem include moving the gallery to a separate page, like Gallery of Sistine Chapel ceiling.[?]
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  • This article may need to undergo summary style, where a series of appropriate subpages are used. For example, if the article is United States, than an appropriate subpage would be History of the United States, such that a summary of the subpage exists on the mother article, while the subpage goes into more detail.[?]
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  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a.[?]

I realize that's quite a bit but a lot of those are minor, and while I strongly suggest addressing them, I don't feel they're reason to not pass it as GA. DoomsDay349 17:43, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Michelangelo's psychological state[edit]

Anthony Bertram discusses this as a hidden layer in the meanings of these works and notes that "The principle opposed forces in this conflict were his passionate admiration for classical beauty and his profound, almost mystical Catholicism, his homosexuality, and his horror of carnal sin combined with a lofty Platonic concept of love."

I've editted out the reference to dualism in the Ancestors and the depressed state of the "religious figures".

I think that Bertram's interpretation is much too narrow in seeing this as reflecting Michelangelo's own personal conflict about one personal matter. I think that Bertram has greatly underestimated the depth of Michelangelo's knowledge of Theology and the power of his creativity as a story-teller. If you read this whole article again you will (perhaps) understand why.

The thing that should be noted is that the subject of the whole ceiling (and the ancestor paintings) is Sin. And accompanying the Sin are Grief, Guilt, Fear, Rage, Resentment, Depression, Hopelessness, Loneliness, Physical Illness and all those other horrible things that are part of the human state. If you look hard at the Ancestors, you'll find your own particular sin there among them. Most of them are either in a state of conflict with their partner or are as focussed on themselves as Narcissus was. Paranoia, Vanity, Spite, Envy, Lust, Avarice, Partiality and so on.

As for the anguished faces of the actors in the narrative panels, they relate directly to the subject matter. Of course Adam and Eve look distraught at being put out of Eden! And of course the people in the Flood painting appear in a state of fear and distress. This is not about Mchelangelo the guilty homosexual. This is about Michelangelo the brilliant story-teller.

And the expressions of the prophets, they relate closely to their particular prophecies. Jeremiah looks particularly distressed. He is one of the so-called "Major Prophets" and his subject was the downfall of Jerulsalem. His second book is called "Lamentations".

Personally, when I look at the ignudi around the ceiling, I don't see any sign whatsoever of guilt over the admiration of the human body. And wherever men and women occur together on the ceiling we see them relating to each other in an intimate and natural way.

--Amandajm 14:56, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

More on the matter of Sin[edit]

In Christian teaching, Sin is a given. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Sin is the whole reason that humankind needed the Salvation provided by Jesus Christ. Sin starts with Adam and Eve.

What Michelangelo has done is provide a background to the Old Covenant between God and the Jewish people through Moses and the New Covenant between God and all humanity through Christ. The way he has done it is very thoughtful and clever. If he had shown all those ancestors as happy well-adjusted people living "Godly" lives, then salvation through Jesus would not have been necessary. So he shows them as normal, squabbling, selfish people. This is the whole reason why th ceiling is about Sin. The Last Judgement picture picks up the theme again.

There is yet another element in the total scheme of the chapel. It is not a painted element. It is the Holy Sacrament of Bread and Wine, representing the continuing presence of the Living Christ. Because of the presence of the sacrament, Michelangelo didn't have to paint anything to represent Christ's incarnation or sacrifice. So the existent fresco of the Birth of Jesus was painted over.

If you look at the content and expression from a purely Theological point of view, then the whole scheme of the Chapel is drawn together in such a dynamic way by Michelangelo's ceiling that the notion that it might be all about his personal angst gets swamped by an all-embracing and magnificent concept.

--Amandajm 15:21, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

"In his own image"[edit]

(discussion transferred from another page) The final (First day of Creation) image is surely Michelangelo himself, working on the ceiling in the supreme act of creation. I found a website the other day that supported this vview, but I've lost it. The beard is shorter, the face is almost hidden, the figure is workingg above his head.

As for God creating the Earth, Sun and Moon, the wrathful God has mmuch in common with the Moses for Pope Julius' tomb. It has been said before that Michelangelo represented the Pope as God. Well, if so, it's an image more in keeping with the man who said "Show me with a sword; I know nothing of books!"

As for the creation of Adam, there's much more of a benvolence in that picture. I've always loved the hand of God which is so square and capabable but hhas delicate fingertips. Its the hand of a man who not only pounded the clay and modelled it to make the man but who also wired the circuits of his brain.

There's been a study done on Michelangelo's David which indicates that he was almost certainly a stone mason. Several of the models on the ceiling have similar characteristics. What we see in the forearm of Michelangelo's God is the massive development consistent with using a hammer and chisel, in particular the bulge just near the wrist which is the abductor pollicus longus which brings the hand forward in relation to the forearm and is used when hammering in a controlled way (cobbler's tacks as against six inch nails). I'm sure we are looking at Michelangelo's own arm here. But I can't really say this, can I? I'm sure it falls under the category of original research!

In quite a lot of late Medieval/Early Renaissance images there is no distinction between God the Creator and God Incarnate so that when God is shown in the Creation stories, he looks just like Jesus in the Redemption episodes, the only difference being that he is often given a triangular halo as against Jesus' triple-rayed halo which symbolises the cross as well as the Trinity. God appears like this in the frescoes at San Gimigniano. There is another picture of the Trinity somewhere... I think a Jesuit statement...which shows the triune God as three identical Jesus-persons all enthroned side-by-side. Rather intimidating --Amandajm 02:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

That is more a 15th century thing - see Trinity#Less_common_types_of_depiction Johnbod (talk) 12:09, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The Creation of Adam.

creation of adam picture[edit]

wtf. bubble speech from god saying hahaha? thats photoshopped. someone take it out —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

oh Dear, dear![edit]

I'm glad Lady CdB didn't see that one! Amandajm 10:45, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

One makes the best of what one has. PiCo 01:39, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Gift of Intellect[edit]

Someone added this unsouurce statement to the article, with regards to the "Creation of Adam":

It has been widely considered to be the Creation of Adam, but Michelangelo's notes, journals and letters reveal that it is the Giving of the Gift of Intellect

The problem with this statement is that its writer presumes that the two interpretations are mutually exclusive. Of course it is the "Creation of Adam". There is no doubt whatsoever about that. But this isn't the process of God moulding Adam's body from the clay of the earth. It is God giving the gifts that make him human. And part of that is intellect. Amandajm (talk) 22:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


"The final scene of Humankind's degradation is the story of Noah's drunkenness. After the Flood, Noah tills the soil and grows vines. He is shown doing so, in the background of the picture. He becomes drunk and inadvertently exposes himself. His youngest son, Ham, brings his two brothers Shem and Japheth to see the sight but they discreetly cover their father with a cloak. Ham is later cursed by Noah and told that the descendents of his son Canaan will serve Shem and Japheth's descendents forever. Taken together, these three pictures of death, destruction and degradation serve to show that Humankind, represented by Noah's family, had moved a long way from God's perfect creation." (Ref: Goldscheider, 1953)

Goldscheider's memory of Genesis is a bit dodgy - in Genesis 9, Ham sees Noah naked, goes outside and tells his brothers, and they come in, without Ham, walking backwards, and cover Noah with a cloak. Just why they do this is unclear. How they do it is even more unclear - all that walking backwards must surely be risky. Michelangelo's version makes more sense - Ham and his brothers all in the tent together, all looking at the drunken Patriarch. But Mick is, nevertheless, wrong, if by right we mean does he follow the biblical text. Mick was a great man, and allowances must be made - I wouldn't be at all surprised if wasn't actually Moses who slipped up while taking dictation, and Mick is the one who has it right.

But for Goldscheider there can be no leeway, for his theology is even worse than his biblical knowledge: the story of the Curse of Ham is not one of human degradation (that's all finished with the Flood, which wiped out the wicked - at this point only the virtuous are around on Jehovah's good earth), but of the division of the primal population between the Virtuous (Shem and his descendants, namely the Israelites and the Medes) and the Wicked (Canaan). In other words, this scene is the set-up for the long story of just why God gave the land of Canaan to Israel - Canaan (Ham) was wicked, Israel (Shem) virtuous. Please, remove Goldscheider. PiCo (talk) 21:35, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

New Photo[edit]

Sistine chapel.jpg

Would this photo provide a benefit to the article if it was incorporated? FSU Guy (talk) 16:25, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Nice photo! Amandajm (talk) 07:56, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

The Brain[edit]

No mention of the image of God having, according to some, the outline of a brain around him? ABC News Cave Online BBC] MrMarmite (talk) 16:26, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, there seems to be more to the theory than just the brain. It sounds like a whole nother article! Amandajm (talk) 09:15, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

Result was weak keep--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:24, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Notified: Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts, (belated direct notification of User:Amandajm, User:JNW, User:Ceoil, User:Johnbod)

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Sistine Chapel ceiling/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

As part of GA Sweeps, I am reviewing this article and noting its deficiencies. I am very confident in the prospects of rescue for this article given the solid track record of Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts at rescuing such articles. I have seen this group summon very solid efforts to salvage article reviews before (E.g., Henry Moore and El Lissitzky). As is usually, the case, I am harping on citations. My standard continues to be that every paragraph in a well-structured article should have at least one citation since paragraphs are suppose to contain distinct topics and all facts should be attributable to a WP:RS. So many paragraphs were without citation that I lost count. I do not want to delist this important article and hope that the project comes together to rescue this article as they have done for so many other important works. Because of the age of the work, all images pass without any fair use rationales. I would just like to know where all the facts are coming from.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 06:40, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Have you picked up on the "section references"? These reference the whole section above; there are usually more than 1, up to 5, per section. With these there are only one or two paras missing refs, and with about 80 footnotes the article is heavily referenced by GA standards. If the section refs were split out per para there would be well over 100. You need to be more precise about where you think extra references are needed. I should point out I've never edited the article that I can recall. Johnbod (talk) 11:56, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
  • As Johnbod has pointed out, many of the sections are referenced, rather than individual paragraphs. The reason for this is that in many cases information has been combined from a number of sources and restated in the writer's words rather than those of any one particular author on the subject.
  • Also, what we are dealing with here, as in the case of other works of art and architecture, is a "primary source". Statements within the article which are purely descriptive are referenced by the object itself ie. the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
This includes statements such as: Above the level of the spandrels, where the ceiling flattens, is painted a strongly-projecting cornice that runs right around the ceiling, enclosing the main pictorial areas. These fictive architectural elements form a grid in which all the figures have defined spaces.
This sort of stuff is not interpretive, and isn't in any way contentious. It is merely a clear description written by an editor who is competent at describing artworks in formal terms.
Amandajm (talk) 12:49, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

The other thing that I meant to say here is that I will get around to inserting more inline refs where appropriate, but it might take a day or so before I can find the time the time to do it. In almost every case it will just mean going to the "Section references" and deciding which one to put after which paragraph (or sentence). Amandajm (talk) 13:11, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, we are hoping for inline refs.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 14:14, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
TonyThe Tiger, I just took a look at your page and the long list of FAs and GAs to which you have made some contribution. One of those articles is Fountain of Time.
This constitutes one of the most ridiculously over-referenced articles that I have yet found on Wikipedia. Almost every sentence is referenced and some sentences which are dead-ordinary and utterly banale have as many as three references attached to the end. There are so many references that the little boxes with numbers make the article disjointed and hard to read.
One sentence has four references within the text, three of which are for the same two pages of the same book. That is ludicrous! I sincerely hope that you do not expect me to emulate it. If this is the standard that you set, and you happened to be the personn assessing the quality of the article, then, No, I am not interested in playing the game, even if you are so "confident that it can be rescued".
Here's an example from the article:
The design was inspired by the poem "Paradox of Time" by Henry Austin Dobson:[46] "Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go".[26][39][45]
Good grief! How could any writer possibly need to support a short quotation like that with three references?
Amandajm (talk) 07:12, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I believe you are referring to the article that just passed by a 5–0 count at WP:FAC yesterday. I am an inline reference junkie. I put a reference on every fact and sometimes two or three. All I am asking here is that each paragraph have a reference. I am not asking you to cite the work as extensively as I would cite a new promotion candidate myself.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 07:43, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
All those little boxes are terribly distracting to the reader. It is unencyclopedic and unnecessary. You need to wean yourself off them. They don't make a good article. When the reader looks down at the refs, and sees that three references within a paragraph (or even within a sentence) point them to the same page, then it doesn't look convincing. It looks ridiculous. If I was reviewing an article for FA and it was referenced in that manner, one of my first comments would be "Clean up your references, so that the reader can read without interruption." You don't need every fact referenced individually, if most of the facts being presented are straight-forward and not matters of controversy or opinion. Anyway, the Ceiling is in the process of getting a few more inline refs. It's dinner time in the Land of Oz. Amandajm (talk) 08:40, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Isn't the question what policy in general, and GA policy in particular, has to say about section references? I personally prefer to combine multiple references in one note, but then I'm usually using books not websites. Over-referencing is definitely distracting; I see this was in fact raised in the first FAC on the sculpture (though at least I think Amanda & I are with you on the issues of images and a gallery, also raised). To my mind, and for say FAC, the only problem with the references here is that page numbers are not given. My style would be just to give refs like: "Shearman, 136; O'Malley, 95" or whatever at every para, which are fairly easy to copy over, changing the page no.s, if you are doing lots. The repeated O'Malley ref is to a 60-page stretch of his book. Giving more precise page details is what would actually help a reader trying to follow the refs. Johnbod (talk) 13:05, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Proper format for the inline refs would be "Shearman, p. 35" or "Shearman, pp. 35–37" using ndash.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 14:50, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
No, my version is fine - see the policy. Just because you do things one way Tony, doesn't mean that is the only way, or the best way. Johnbod (talk) 19:51, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Citation styles vary across fields and your method clearly identifies the location of the source of the content. Thus, yes your method is fine. I was merely encouraging you to use a style that I have been encouraged to use during some FAC debates.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 20:48, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

←I am quite pleased with the progress that is being made with this article. However, 16 entire paragraphs continue to have no citations and it has been six days since the last edit was made to this article. Please let me know if there is further near-term improvement expected. It is possible that if the article goes over seven days without improvement it will be delisted.—Preceding unsigned comment added by TonyTheTiger (talkcontribs) 17:40, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm still here, Tony. I've been sick for the last ten days. I hope you've been maintaining my watchlist! Amandajm (talk) 05:57, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

further comment I just had a search for the "16 unreferenced paragraphs" you referred to. Frankly, I think that you are being ridiculously nit-picking. I really don't give a stuff whether you are pleased or not. I have been too ill in the last ten days to continue the process. But regardless of that fact, removing a green button from the article will do nothing to reduce its quality. And adding the same references over and over will do little to enhance it. As it is, the article is informative, useful and well-written. If adding four or five distracting references to every sentence is what wins cookie points and gets green buttons, then I don't want them. Amandajm (talk) 07:07, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Since you have been Ill, I will keep watching this page in hopes that you return to health in the near future and decide to continue the improvement of this page. Yes, according to Wikipedia:WIAGA criterion 2, proper in-line referencing is now the current standard. I am only requesting at least one citation per paragraph and not actual fact-by-fact inline citation. I do hope you get better and are able to help improve the quality of this article.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 14:13, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Thank you TonyThe Tiger for initiating this discussion on referencing in one of the Project's GAs. To quote the relevant part of the policy (my numbering):

(b) [A good article is ... factually accurate and verifiable: ] it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for
(1) direct quotations,
(2) statistics,
(3) published opinion,
(4) counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and
(5) contentious material relating to living persons;

I can't see a "one citation per paragraph policy" in WIAGA but I'll be happy to learn in case such a policy exists. I don't see that WP:ATT automatically requires such a policy and such a mechanical placement of references would seem a little out of line with the very reasoned approach taken in WIAGA, in which good scholarly practice is emulated well. I have carefully reviewed the article and will be making the following changes over the next days to help conclude this GAR:

re (1): one citation is unsourced: "it appears as if the viewer[...]" , it should be easy to fix, I have to get to the library though;
re (2): statistics are all sourced;
re (3): published opinion is all sourced;
re (4): the article does not appear to contain "counter-intuitive or controversial statements";
re (5): the article does not contain material relating to living persons.

Point (4) has some leeway in interpretation but if there is contention regarding this, I would appreciate if someone could point out the specifics; it can certainly be quickly fixed.

Additional points to be addressed:

(A) in some places the article is overreferenced, e.g.
According to Vasari, "The work was carried out[...]".[6][8] – this should have only one reference (to Vasari), not two. Yes check.svg Done Enki H. (talk) 23:33, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
(B) in some places the references don't seem appropriate, e.g.
Above the cornice and to either side of the smaller scenes are an array of round shields. They are in part supported by twenty more figures, not part of the architecture, but sitting on inlaid plinths, their feet planted convincingly on the fictive cornice. They are the so-called ignudi.[23] - The descriptive elements are referenced by the workitself and don't need a separate reference since there is no interpretation here. That these are called "ignudi" also should not be referenced here, since these are the topic of a section of the article, which Ignudi redirects to. Yes check.svg Done
(C) some of the references should have page numbers some added and some ref.s replaced, see no serious deficiencies now. Enki H. (talk) 18:32, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
(D) the wikilinks could use some touch-up (link only the first occurrence per paragraph)... and some are missing (e.g. Erythraean sybil). Yes check.svg Done
(E) I think, in general, when particular details are described or interpreted, this should be either accompanied by, or linked to, an image if one is available. Yes check.svg Done
This was actually worthwhile to improve the article. I have created a refgroup for images and this elegantly allows to get to the actual visual evidence very quickly. I've also added about a dozen images from Commons to the gallery. Enki H. (talk) 16:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
(F) Some of the sections could be restructured (description before interpretation) Yes check.svg Done Enki H. (talk) 16:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC) ;
(G) Capitalization and italics are not consistent (e.g. Ignudi). Yes check.svg Done Enki H. (talk) 23:00, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

N.b. I have an issue with threats "to delist the article". The discussion above demonstrates editorial disagreement, the appropriate process is therefore a Community reassessment, not a delisting.

Cheers, Enki H. (talk) 16:47, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your thoughts. First of all in terms of disagreement, both Amandajm (talk · contribs), who has been the main editorial respondent and Ceoil (talk · contribs) have expressed a willingness to continue to improve the article in response to my concern. So rather than going to a community reassessment about whether the current version passes, the best thing to do is to allow the willing editors to improve the article. The article would be better with more inline citations if that is possible.
In response to WP:WIAGA, there is no one citation per paragraph policy explicitly stated. However, I feel my concern is reasonable because in a well-formatted article, each paragraph is suppose to present a distinct topic. If this topic has encyclopedic merit, it probably should present some factual opinion, statistic, conclusion, result, etc. that a reader would find worth learning. Lets call this thing the main topic of the paragraph. Suppose a paaragraph is presenting a main topic that a reader should not want to learn. IMO, this means that paragraph's main topic is unencyclopedic. I do not challenge that any paragraph presents worthless information. In fact, I believe the encyclopedic worth of each paragraph probably has an encyclopedic topic. If I felt this topic was to be hotly contested, I would go through each paragraph and identify its main topic. Then I would attempt to determine if the reader can WP:ATT it to a WP:RS as the article stands. If I feel the topic is such that it is attributed to a bunch of general reference that the reader would have to wade through or no particular reference at all, I would put a {{fact}} on the paragraph. In fact, if a community reassesment is demanded, I am serious enough about the citation per paragraph policy that I would do just this. Of course, any paragraph not presenting an encyclopedic topic, would be removed from the article. Thus, if this issue becomes a hotly contested debate, I would either attach a fact tag or remove each uncited paragraph outside of the WP:LEAD. However, at this time, I do have full expectation that there is improvement expected.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 17:51, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
It seems a bunch of new references to primary sources (the images themselves) have been added. I know for some subjects primary source references are common, but I have not seen art articles with such a preponderance of primary references. Can someone who knows art let me know if this is Kosher.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 16:51, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Their use here seems fine - they are acting as detailed illustrations rather than references, I would have said, but of course do sometimes reference the point being made. Johnbod (talk) 19:42, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

FINAL RESULT KEEP In truth, I have trouble with the number of paragraphs that remain unreferenced. I hope the authors continue to improve the article. However, there are far worse examples of good work on WP.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:24, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Status (as of 3 May 2008)[edit]

I'll step away for a while; IMO reference issues have been addressed now. Just one thing: thirteen of the "references" go to Biblical source; IMO such primary sources might be better handled by wikilinks to wikisource since they should not be used to support interpretations, only to illustrate them. Or one could create a separate group="Scripture" or such . But AFAIAC I see nothing pressing left to do. Enki H. (talk) 18:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Until I have some commentary from art experts on the use of primary sources, I am uncomfortable passing this.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 18:49, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
?? Not sure what you are asking us to do. Still missing references? Enki H. (talk) 18:56, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I am saying that despite my interest and experience with WP:WPVA articles, I am not sure if it is proper to reference using the primary source and telling the reader to agree with the WP editors interpretation. Secondary sources are usually the preferred method of citation.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 19:48, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Well of course, that would be a Bad Thing - but I thought I had repaired most of that ... care to point me to an example where that's still the case? Enki H. (talk) 23:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Towards FAC ?[edit]

After working on the GAR, with the article fresh in my mind, I wonder if there is support for working on it a bit more towards getting it to a Featured Article candidacy? Enki H. (talk) 15:28, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Unsourced quotation[edit]

I removed the following unsourced quotation (it's also a bit gratuitous)... it could go back IF a source can be found and IF its relevance to the article can be established. References I found all go back to this article.
Michelangelo Whatever beauty here on earth is seen / To meet the longing and perceptive eye / Is semblance of that source divine / From whence we all are come. / In this alone we catch a glimpse of Heaven."
--Enki H. (talk) 16:20, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Sistine Chapel ceiling GAR oversight[edit]

I missed one issue with the refs during the GAR. There is a deadlink.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 03:40, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Works for me, both in the article and on the toolserver page. Might be a problem with the toolserver's algorithm perhaps? Just click on the link to try it, and do post again if the problem is real. I've notified the tool author of the discrepancy. Enki H. (talk) 04:30, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Deleted bit[edit]

Finally, on a political level, the ideals of the Classical "Golden Age" were referenced to endorse the Pope's vision of worldly leadership. "Michelangelo gave permanent form to [such] grandiose aspirations [...] of papal triumphalism."ref- Graham-Dixon 2008, p. 136

This sentence was included in the aricle as if it were a statement of fact, without any supporting material (even though it is cited). How did Michelangelo reference the Classical Golden Age? If he did, did he do it to "endorse the Pope's vision of worldly leadership"? That may be the opinion of Graham-Dixon, but I would argue very strongly that this is not the case, even if the Pope was sufficiently foolish as to believe that it might be. The point that I am making here is not simply that I disagree, but that Michelangelo scholars have differing ideas about things like the "layers of meaning".

It is my opinion that nobody at the papal court had anything whatsover to do with the theology of the ceiling. My personal opinion is that the scheme was devised by someone who didn't give a fig for the Pope's aspirations. If Michelangelo (or his hypothetical consultant) had wished to flatter the pope or represent papal power, then the content would have been very very different. I'm not going to support this here, because it's OR.

If the sentence that I deleted is returned to the article, then it needs to state which writer is of this opinion. Amandajm (talk) 13:34, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

... Well, Graham-Dixon is, isn't he? He argues that there is a synergy of pictorial references of Classical sculpture with the papal court's rhetoric of a Golden Age and I quoted him on that. I don't think that is very important though. What is important is that these are not mere illustrations of the Bible that are in some way obvious or trivial, but indeed have multiple "layers of meaning"; these should be made explicit in the article and I had thus structured them as theological/philosophical/political. (Of course there are many ways to phrase this.) And secondly, to be much clearer abut the artistic innovation we see here that breaks with so many iconographic traditions. Enki H. (talk) 14:51, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
What you need to do is quote Graham-Dixon as arguing this this ie. "Graham-Dixon is of the opinion that this and that idicates this and that.....", rather than just stating his opinion (which is what it is) as if it was a fact, and then referencing it.
Can I also suggest that limiting the number of levels of meaning by beginning the last sentence with "finally...." is not appropriate. Even within the specifically religious context, there are several layers of meaning, which extends the range well beyond three.
A discussion of "Layers of meaning" is just one way of treating the subject matter. The reason that I hadn't gone that direction is that I don't believe that the Theological and Philosophical are split into two separate layers. That is not a good way to describe what is happening here. As For the Political, well, yes, Pope Julius undoubtedlly intended that this ceiling should impress, but I don't think that Michelangelo's scheme fits the bill of displaying papal power. As I said before, if that was his intention, then the whole slant would have been very different. Pictures of the twelve apostle, as proposed by the pope, would have reinforced the papal position. The present scheme does not.
As for the "Golden Age" stuff, Michelangelo has not invented those large impressive bodies to satisfy some philosophy prevalent in the Vatican. If this was the case, then we must ask where David came from. These are the forms of figures that Michelangelo had always created.
On the other hand, the fact that the figures are similar to classical statues would have satisfied this any existant desire that there should be "Golden Age" elements. However, I think that to describe it as a "layer of political meaning" is taking it too far. It is quite sufficient to say that the pope intended that the commission of the work should bring glory on himself, his family and his role.

With regards to the layers of meaning:

  1. There is a simple, and obvious, narrative sequence in nine pictures.
  2. The stories that are illustrated here are interpreted in Christian Theology as meaning that humanity was a perfect creation, that through Adam and Eve sin entered the world, that because of them humanity was punished by separation from God, and mortality. That humanity continued to sin, but that the righteous were save by God's Grace. This is the obvious message of the stories
  3. The next layer of theological meaning is that these Old Testament stories carry direct reference to the Gospels. Mary is the new Eve, Christ the perfect Adam, Noah's salvation equates with the salvation of humanity through Jesus.
  4. The fourth layer of theological meaning, (without yet shifting from the nine narratives), is that humanity needs Salvation. If there is no real need, then there is no point in the prophets, and no point in the ancestors. How does Michelangelo illustrate this need? His last narrative panel (in the Biblical chronology) shows us the figure of Noah, lying in the same position as the perfect Adam, but degraded, despite the salvation that he received through the Ark.
  5. The fact that humanity needs salvation indicates the importance of the church, because the role of the church, unquestionably in Catholic Theology, is to bring people to God through Christ.

In writing about this in the article, I had included all this information but hadn't divided it into layers, because that is only one way of approaching it.

I don't think there is any philosophical "subtext" as such. There is a quite overt blending of Humanist ideals with Christian ones, with Adam representing the perfect idealised man. Likewise I think it would be quite wrong to refer to a political "subtext". Julius' friends and enemies alike would have looked up, seen the glorious youths supporting swathes of oak and recognised that Julius was glorifying his own family. All this was quite overt. My feeling is that it is quite sufficient to say that Julius commissioned the work, to his own glory, and the glory of the papacy

The pictures around the walls are another matter. There are some quite provocative political subtexts in those pictures. I can't help but be amazed that the artists got away with some of the things that they did.

Sorry, I had a few interruptions and seem to have repeated myself a bit, but I'll post it anyway. Amandajm (talk) 13:39, 26 June 2009 (UTC)


Please don't change "s" to "z" in the US manner in words that end in "-ise". This article uses English spelling. Amandajm (talk) 13:37, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Please note that as well as being the modern American spelling, "-ize" is the traditional British English spelling. Greenshed (talk) 22:21, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Not exactly, see American_and_British_English_spelling_differences#-ise.2C_-ize. The spelling should not be changed (in UK English articles). Johnbod (talk) 23:55, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Ukranian controversy[edit]

I think the following should be considered before it stays in the article, so I've taken it here (original diff):

  • There is a hipothesis, formed by ukrainian sciencist K. Efetov[1][2][3][4], that Michelangelo has presented two hidden images on the ceiling: on the fresco "The Creation of Adam" the group of angels around the God is rather similar to the appearance of the human brain, while on the fresco "The Creation of the Sun, Moon and Earth" after turning it over it is possible to find big pictures of male and female genitals. This discovery is treated by K. Efetov as Michelangelo's idea of two steps of the creation of the world: fertilization (symbolized by genitals) and spiritualization (symbolized by brain).

Efetov seems mainly known for his work on butterflies.

Johnbod (talk) 16:44, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Hypotheses re: hidden images come from numerous sources, not just Efetov [1], [2], [3], [4]; "There's absolutely nothing visible that substantiates this extremely far-fetched interpretation," said Colin Eisler, professor of fine arts at New York University. "There's that great line in the Bible, 'Seek and ye shall find.' You can find whatever you like." If the theories of several viewers from other disciplines merit mention, they can be included with multiple sources, along with responses from those in the field, minus the sensationalism of 'Ukranian controversy'. There are several Rorschach interpretations on the market. Apparently people see what they want to see, confirming their own predispositions. JNW (talk) 17:05, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
If the hipotheses about some mysterious images on the frescos are such numerous (by the way, Efetov mentions several in his book, but his own ideas seems to be more well-grounded, than the quoted ones), I think it is worth to create an apart subsection, dedicated to this question. Unfortunately, I don't know English well, so it will be too difficult for me to do the necessary data search in English. Maybe somebody can perform this task? Mevamevo (talk) 00:06, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Can I suggest that the article is already very long and that the best thing to do would be to create a new page specifically about theories and interpretation, rather than creating a subsection in this article. Amandajm (talk) 13:51, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Request for external link to 'Virtual Tour' of Sistine Chapel[edit]

I'm seeking consensus from this community to re-include a link to this page: This is a visual tour of the Sistine Chapel where the user can mouse-over the map of the room to see detailed images of each fresco in context. This is a not-for-profit project. I do not benefit in any way from additional visits to my site, other than the gratification that a stranger might appreciate the Sistine Chapel frescos more because of my project. I believe that this visual interaction is an effective method of exploring the Sistine Chapel, and that it is a valuable complement to Wikipedia's text-based article. Please ask any questions you may have, and thank you for your consideration. Bdaroff (talk) 01:01, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Becky, I think it's a great site and ought to be linked in the Exetrnal links, on this page and also the Sistine Chapel.
  • I have one problem. most of the pictures look as if they have had a blanket digital "correction" run over them. The colours are hideous. They are nothing like the original. They look as if they have been coloured with a cheap set of felt tips, rather than painted in fresco, which is clear and bright, but rather delicate. All the colours should have a transparent appearance. The only picture that is correct in its coloration is the Prophet Zecharia. If you can make the colours and tone match that one, then it will be good. The centre section is particularly bad. The only parts that are really dark in any of the pictures are the outlines, and even then, they are greyish or brownish rather than black. If you have used a digital tone corrector, then they are bound to be wrong.
Amandajm (talk) 02:42, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Amandajm, Thanks for your compliments and constructive criticism. Looking at the images again, you are correct that some, especially the center panels, appear to have degraded in quality. I used images from the Web Gallery of Art (, and I will go back and replace the images that have become pixelly or over-saturated. Once these corrections are made, should I edit the Sistine Chapel ceiling and Sistine Chapel pages to include this external link, or would one of the administrators do that? Bdaroff (talk) 16:15, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
There is a section near the bottom of each article called External links which is where it should go. Leave it to me, because if you add your own page, it can be seen as self-promotion or spam. I think in this case its a valuable resource to be able to see the building in 3D and expand the images like that! Leave a message to tell me how you are progressing with the pics. Amandajm (talk) 17:31, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for offering to include this resource under external links. I've updated my images of the center panels using 2 images I found on wikipedia, and another high quality image I found through a google search. Please click refresh when you visit Thanks!Bdaroff (talk) 23:55, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Stew of naked bodies[edit]

This has been transferred from the article where an unnamed editor inserted a comment.

The sentence which follows should be corrected. It was not Pope Adrian VI who referred to "a stew of naked bodies". It was Pope Paul IV (Caraffa, instigator of the Roman Inquisition) and he was not referring to Michelangelo's ceiling but to Michelangelo's altarpiece, the "Last Judgment"). However, a number of critics were angered by their presence and nudity: Pope Adrian VI described the ceiling as "a stew of naked bodies" and wanted it stripped.ref "Vasari"

In fact, Pope Adrian, who succeeded Leo X, was strongly opposed to the painting on the ceiling, considered it immoral and wanted it stripped off. However, he didn't live long enough to overcome the objections and see it happen. Amandajm (talk) 03:24, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Doesn't entirely answer the question of who said the "stew" remark, and which surface it applied to - it does fit the Last Judgement rather better. Johnbod (talk) 13:36, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I cannot find the reference in Vasari and can't locate a source that attributes the quote to Adrian VI via Vasari. On the other hand, I have found a couple of sources that attribute the statement to Paul VI in reference to the Last Judgement. I'll remove it. But I would like to track down the source of the attribution to Pope Adrian. Amandajm (talk) 07:37, 9 August 2012 (UTC)