Michelangelo however found this proposal “poor” and instead decided on a complex ceiling fresco composed of numerous different scenes.
The paintings and their sequence have intrigued people to this day. Michelangelo painted the story of Creation, across nine panels on the shallow barrel vault. However, whereas such a cycle typically begins with the creation of the Earth and humanity and ends with the fall of man and banishment from Paradise, Michelangelo includes scenes from the life of Noah. Additional Biblical scenes, representations of prophets, and the sibyls of antiquity also make their appearance. A painted architecture frames the images and lends a clear structure to the dynamic ensemble.
On November 1, 1512, after 4 ½ years work, the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel were solemnly inaugurated. Michelangelo achieved this accomplishment largely without assistance and under difficult conditions. Around 20 years later, in 1536, he returned to Rome. Clements VII, the successor of Pope Julius II, wanted a redesign of the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo then worked until 1541 creating the “Last Judgment” with Jesus in the center as the great judge separating humanity into the chosen and the damned.