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Michelangelo de Buonarotti
The Sistine Ceiling

Michelangelo Buonarroti, on Painting the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

To Giovanni da Pistoia, July 1510
I've grown a goiter by dwelling in this den -
    As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
    Or in what other land they hap to be -
    Which drives the belly close beneath the chin;
My beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
    Fixed on my spine: my breast-bone visibly
    Grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
    Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind:
    My buttock like a crupper bears my weight;
    My feet unguided wander to and fro;
In front my skin grows loose and long; behind,
    By bending it becomes more taut and strait;
    Crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow:
            Whence false and quaint, I know,
    Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
    For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.
                        Come then, Giovanni, try
    To succor my dead pictures and my fame,
    Since foul I fare and painting is my shame.

Selected Works
Sistine Ceiling Full View
Genesis - The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden
Pendentive - David and Goliath
Genesis - Creation of Eve
Pendentive - Judith and Holofernes
Genesis - Creation of Adam
Genesis - Separation of the Earth from the Waters
Ancestors of Christ - Jechoniah's family with their son Shealtiel
Ancestors of Christ - Hezekiah as a child with father Ahaz and his mother
Genesis - Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Plants
Genesis - Separation of Light from Darkness
Ancestors of Christ - Asa consoling his father
Ancestors of Christ - Jesse with his parents
Ancestors of Christ - The child Salmon
Lunette - Jacob/Joseph
Ancestors of Christ - Solomon, the father of Rehoboam
Lunette - Eleazar/Matthan
Lunette - Azor/Zadok
Ancestors of Christ - Uzziah, parents, and a brother
Lunette - Josiah/Jechoniah/Shealtiel
Ancestors of Christ - Zerubbabel with parents and a brother
The Prophet Zechariah
Lunette - Hezekiah/Manasseh/Amon
Lunette - Asa/Jehoshaphat/Joram
The Delphic Sibyl
Lunette - Jesse/David/Solomon
The Prophet Isaiah
Lunette - Nahshon
The Cumaean Sibyl
Pendentive - The Brazen Serpent
The Prophet Daniel
The Libyan Sibyl
Pendentive - Punishment of Haman
The Prophet Jonah
Lunette - Amminadab
Lunette - Salmon/Boaz/Obed
The Prophet Jeremiah
Lunette - Rehoboam/Abijah
The Persian Sibyl
Lunette - Uzziah/Jotham/Ahaz
The Prophet Ezekiel
The Erythraean Sibyl
Lunette - Zerubbabel/Abiud/Eliakim
Lunette - Achim/Eliud
The Prophet Joel
Genesis - Drunkenness of Noah
Genesis - The Deluge
Genesis - Sacrifice of Noah

Terms Defined

Referenced Works