Type: Interactive On-Line Webinar or Live Event

Sites/Works of Art Discussed: Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Basilica of St. Peter, Michelangelo’s Slaves, Tomb of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo’s Moses

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“Michelangelo and The Tomb Tragedy”
Presented by Dr. Rocky Ruggiero

When Michelangelo was called to Rome in 1506 by the recently elected Pope Julius II, it was to design and carve the mother of all tombs. Intended to stand four stories in height and directly over the tomb of St. Peter, and to accommodate 40 over-life-sized statues, it was a direct reflection of both the pope’s megalomaniacal tendencies and the artist’s over-reaching ambition. Shortly after ordering 100 tons of Carrara marble with which to begin the project, Pope Julius put the commission on hold so that Michelangelo could instead cover the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in fresco. The Sistine ceiling was the first of a series of interruptions to a project whose contract would be reworked three more times over nearly four decades of legal battles between the rock-star artist and the exacerbated heirs of Pope Julius II. This lecture will explore the history of this epic contractual contest that resulted in what Michelangelo’s earliest biographer described as “the tragedy of the tomb.”


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