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|Sistine Chapel ceiling|
|Location||Sistine Chapel, part of Vatican Museums, Vatican City|
|Followed by||The Last Judgment|
The Sistine Chapel is the large papal chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV, for whom the chapel is named. The ceiling was painted at the commission of Pope Julius II.
The ceiling's various painted elements form part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel. Prior to Michelangelo's contribution, the walls were painted by several leading artists of the late 15th century including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Pietro Perugino. After the ceiling was painted, Raphael created a set of large tapestries (1515–1516) to cover the lower portion of the wall. Michelangelo returned to the chapel to create The Last Judgment, a large wall fresco situated behind the altar. The chapel's decoration illustrates much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church, serving as the location for papal conclaves and many other important services.
Central to the ceiling decoration are nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, including The Creation of Adam. The complex design includes several sets of figures, some clothed and some nude, allowing Michelangelo to demonstrate his skill in depicting the human figure in a variety of poses. The ceiling was immediately well-received and imitated by other artists, continuing to the present. It has been restored several times, most recently from 1980-94.