Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Comes to Oakbrook Center

Copy of the Sistine Chapel

The Covid Pandemic has made travel both controversial, complicated, and at times impossible. Since we may not be able to travel to Italy, currently. The best of Italy has become accessible to us through the marvels of technology. State-of-the-art technology has come to the rescue many times during Corona Virus lockdowns. We are currently able with the relaxed protocols to experience the greatest artist of the Renaissance, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni here, instead of trekking to Italy just to be quarantined and have strict restrictions to obtaining entrance to the Vatican.

The Last Judgement

Michelangelo is considered to be the greatest influencer in the development of Western art. He was a sculpture, painter, architect, and poet. He considered himself a sculptor first. He actually considered this to be a more prestigious career choice than a painter, although his family disdained all artists as lower class. Michaelangelo, ever the defiant rebel, ignored his family wishes and was first apprenticed at age 13 to the Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. His mentor recognized his talent and he recommended him to Lorenzo de’ Medici the Magnificent. He stayed in the Medici home for five years learning sculpture from Bertolodo di’ Giovanni. Michaelangelo had access to the Greek and Roman sculpture owned by Lorenzo. He also studied cadavers, so that he could achieve realistic anatomical proportions with detailed precision.

His Sistine Chapel Frescoes have been digitally reproduced in a life-sized, up-close, walk-through perspective at 2120 Oakbrook Centre, in the prior Sears Center building, just adjacent to the Life Time Fitness building. The panels are numbered consecutively and informative placards placed to the side of each panel explain the scenes from Genesis and their significance including hand gestures and accouterments communicating aspects of the paintings we might not understand today.

Sistine Chapel Photo Reproductions

In 1498 Michaelangelo carved from a single block of Carrara Marble a large scale Pieta for the tomb of Cardinal Jean de Bilhères-Lagraulas, the French ambassador to the See of Rome. He finished it in 1499 and received much acclaim for its naturalism, realistic details, and how the statue emotes the agony and grief of the Virgin Mary holding her dying son, Jesus Christ. His Biblical David was created between 1501-1504. This statue and his previous work solidifies his talent and religious fervor. He received a commission from Pope Julius della Rovere (Julius II) in 1505 to build the Pope’s tomb, a five-year project, which he promptly started. Then the mercurial tempered Pope decides to pause this project in favor of rebuilding the Sistine Chapel. The Pope withholds payment until Michelangelo reluctantly agrees to paint the Sistine Chapel. Before he begins the four-year project, he fires the scaffolder and creates unique scaffolding stairs designed to move across the chapel so he can stand while painting the ceiling. Again this proves his genius.

David and Goliath

You will learn this and how difficult fresco painting is in the entertaining video at the start of the exhibit documenting Michelangelo’s life. Even if you have had the pleasure of visiting the Sistine Chapel you will thoroughly enjoy this experience. It accommodates all ages. They have appropriate background music, photos are allowed and you can share your delight with fellow viewers. I believe seeing an informative, awe-inspiring exhibit renews our spirit and brings new understandings to history and artistic, creative genius.

Tickets are selling out quickly for this exhibit running from Wednesday, May 19th through to Sunday, August 15th. Timed entry every 1/2 hour to the event allows for social distancing. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased with prices for adults starting at $20.00 on Fever’s Marketplace. Masks are currently required inside the exhibit.

All photos are courtesy of: MICHELANGELO’S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION.

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