The Sistine Chapel, located at the Vatican Museum, is of exceptional art value for the world cultural heritage. Its ceiling and altar wall are covered by the frescoes of Michelangelo. Some frescoes were also created by the other famous painters.
The Sistine Chapel was built by the order of Pope Sixtus IV in 1481. From the outside it looks like a strong bastion where the papal court could hide in case of danger as at that time there was a real threat of invasion from the side of the Florentine principality of Medici.
The author of the project was Bacio Pontelli. However, the building itself has nothing remarkable: its inner space has a rectangular shape and flat ceiling. The building only has the same sizes as the Temple of Solomon as indicated in the Old Testament — it is 40,9 m long and 13,4 м wide.
The walls of the building are divided into three parts: lower (with draping), middle (with frescoes) and upper (with windows). After the Sistine Chapel was finished Pope Sixtus IV asked the famous painters of that time, such as Sandro Botticelli, Pinturicchio and some other painters, to decorate its walls with frescoes. The decoration works were completed during 1481-1483. But the art value of the Sistine Chapel was much increased in 1508-1512 when Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to paint its vaults.
Twenty five years later, when Michelangelo was 61, he, this time by invitation of Pope Clement VII, returned to the Sistine Chapel and, between 1537 and 1541, created its most complex and grandiose masterpiece, the fresco «The Last Judgment» on the altar wall.