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  • Museums | Spain > Madrid
    Updated at May 28,2013

    (5) Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum - very close to Plaza Neptuno. One of the biggest private collection in the world and it's just a great museum to see.

  • Museums | Germany > Gutach, Germany > Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof
    Updated at May 28,2013

    Not far from a the Rodelbahn you can visit the Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof (open air museum). The museum, located on a farmhouse dating to 1612, features reconstructed buildings and simulations of the activities typical to a farmhouse in those days.

    You can see an exhibition of typical work carried out by travelling craftsmen, exhibitions on dairy and livestock farming in the Black Forest and exhibition of woodworking craft. There is also an exhibition on clocks and traditional costumes of the Black Forest, and of forestry management and glassblowing and a collection of regional stone and minerals. I wouldn’t miss the demonstration of the old flower mill - the kids loved it (

  • Museums | United Kingdom
    Updated at Mar 12,2014

    Victoria and Albert Museum - not to be missed by anyone with an interest in fashion, ceramics, history, interior design or art. Wonderful mix of modern, traditional, and historically themed galleries. Amazing breadth and depth of subject matter.

    Start & End, Acess: Tunnel to the South Kensington Tube stop.

    Admission: Free admission.

    Duration: Like the British Museum, this is a place you could spend an hour or several days. This museum is so huge and endless that one visit is not enough! Far too much to see in one visit so if you have limited time do your research before you arrive to make the best use of your time you need to be selective.

    Food: The restaurant is enormous but very popular so if you want lunch you need to be aware that at peak times it's crowded. The restaurant is excellent with great variety of food and a magnificent setting in the original decorated 19th century dining halls.

    The Morris Room, designed by William Morris:

    Tips: Go to the cafe it is beautiful, often a piano player on Saturdays.Go in the spring or the summer and sit outside by the pond.

     The V&A is enormous, probably a little overwhelming. Free guided tours will reveal details of a small sample of the exhibits - for days or weeks. Or just admire the design and workmanship as you explore the galleries. This is an amazing building with an interesting collection of exhibits. Visit this imposing building and its contents, you won't be disappointed.

    The building itself is astonishing:

    Entrance from Cromwell road. Dale Chilhuly chandelier in the entry:

    The Photography Gallery:

    Other Britain:

     Robert Frank (born 1924), London Street, 1951:

     China Culture:

    A messenger with a letter - from a family tomb:

    Qifao Manchofe - 1644-1919, Chinese dress of the elite':

    Lady Portrait Qins Dynasty 1830-1900:

    Heroic soldier 2nd Century AD:

    Tomb guard man, retaliates ghosts, Tang Dynasty 700-750 AD:

    Laozi - Old man riding on ox - Qing dynasy 18th century:

    Bodhisattva, Jin dynasty 1115-1234:


    Cloud on a mountain, modern art work, year 2000:

    Ivory model of ship, 1800 AD:

    Head of Buddha, Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD):

     Japan culture:

    Karaov -Chinese dress of women in cermonial events, year 1980:

    Inro - small parcels for carrying money, medicines and stamps, Edo period, 1615-1868:

    Amida -Buddhist figure, king of the wetern paradise, 1200-1300:

    One of (ten) judges of Hell:

    Oyoroi - Armour,  1100-1200 AD:

    Guan Di, 1640-1700, Qing Dynasty, famous General that fought in the civil wars 2nd-3rd centuries AD:


    Korea culture:

    Modern silk dress, year 1995:

    India culture:

    Shiva, Nataraju-Chola, 8th - 10th centuries AD:

    Parsvanetha - one of the Jain religion saints:

    Famous Tipoo's Tiger, Mysore, India, musical instrument:

    Part of tent, South India, 1640:

    Surya, the Sun God holds Lotus flowers, middle of 13th century, Karnatha, India:

    Black hot dance, part of dancer apron, Tibet, 19th century:

    Wish Fullfilling Cow, Hindu, 1900-1950:

    Room 48a: The Raphael Cartoons. Photos not allowed:

    This room houses the surviving designs painted by Raphael, one of the greatest of all Italian Renaissance artists, for tapestries commissioned in Rome in 1515 by Pope Leo the 10th. These were to be hang in the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican, Rome on the walls beneath the ceiling by his contemporary Michelangelo. Although, originally, only designs (known as 'cartoons') to guide the weavers, they are now among the greatest artistic treasures in Britain. Owned by the British Royal Family since 1623. They have been on loan to the Museum since year 1865. Leo X commissioned a set of tapestry designs, or cartoons, from Raphael in 1515. The ten cartoons depicted episodes from the lives of Saints Peter and Paul. The scenes, whose content Leo X most likely worked out in discussion with Raphael and Vatican theologians, all served to emphasise the pre-eminence of the Roman Church and the legitimacy of papal succession. His choice of Raphael as designer of the tapestries was a bold move. Tapestries had long been a speciality of Flanders, with Flemish artists providing the designs and doing the weaving. By commissioning tapestry designs from one of the giants of Italian art, Leo X was creating something special - a combination of Italian Renaissance aesthetics and Flemish weaving expertise:

    Raphael, The Healing of the Lame Man:

    Raphael, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes:

    Raphael, Christ's Charge to Peter:

    Raphael, The Sacrifice at Lystra:

    Retablo of St. George, from a church in valencia, Spain:, 1410 AD:

    The Middle Ages section:

    The Boppard Altar piece, wood relief, 1500-1510 AD:

    Clay relief, Andrea de la Robia, 1500-1510 AD:

    Virgin of the Misericordia - Bartholomeo Bon, Venice School:

    Copy of relief on a warrior tomb, Verona, Italy:

    Middle Ages and Renaissance sculptures:

    Metalwork of Coventry, Francis Skidmore, The Hereford Screen:

    Samson slaying a Philistine, Giovanni Bologna:

    Leonardo-de-Vinci Codex. The V&A has five of Leonardo's notebooks in its collections. Known as the Codex Forster, the notebooks were owned by John Forster and bequeathed by him to the V&A in 1876.

    British Galleries, room 57a. The Great Bed of Ware, 1590:

    Young Man among Roses (Portrait miniature),  ca. 1587, England,Hilliard, Nicholas:

    Three portraits of Charles I, ca. 1750:

    Charles II:

    Cabinet of John Evelyn, 1664-1665:

     The State Bed from Melville House, Fife, is the most spectacular single exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum's British Galleries, 1700:

    George Friedrich Handel, 1738:

     Table Clock:

    Paintings, room 87. Life-Boat and Manby Apparatus Going Off to a Stranded Vessel Making Signal (Blue Lights) of Distress
    Turner, born 1775 - died 1851:

    Hove Beach with Fishing Boats, John Constable, England, early 19th century:

    East Cowes Castle, William Turner:

    Middle East section:

    Picnic Mosaic, Isfahan, Iran, 1600-1700 AD:

    Carpet from Isfahan, Iran:

    Portrait of Fath Ali Shuh, 1800-1830 AD:

    Mosaic of Mecca and the Black Stone, Iznik, Turkey:

    Miniature of Gaht, Tiruchirappalli, India:

    Persian Miniature:

    Gold, Silver & Mosaics, room 70:

    The Lafayette Vase, given as a gift to Gilbert du Motier' Marquis de Lafayette who assisted in the French Revolution and the USA Independence War in 1830:

    Silver tray for holding babies in wealthy families:

    Design and Furniture Galleries:

    The Library, design from 1945:

    Quasimodo, Lindvall, Jonas, born 1963, Sweden, 1995:

    Dyson Vacuum Cleaner, designed for the Japanese market, 1979:

    Cucumber Sandwiches; Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories (Bench), 1998, London,  Anastassiades, Michael:

    Chair, Sweden, 1994-1997, Dahlström, Björn, CBI (manufacturer):


    Chair Thing, Murdoch, Peter, born 1940:

    Chair, Mackintosh, Charles Rennie, born 1868 - died 1928:

    Japanese Drawers cupboard, 1970:

    Home appliances:

    Radio sets 1920-1960:

    Patriot Midget (Radio), 1940, United States, Bel Geddes, Norman:

    The Cast Court (Note: some of the large works are actually copies made...):

    Relief from Santo Domingo de Silos Monastery, Spain:

    Reliefs from Aixe-de-Provence and bronze bodies of British nobles from the Rouen Cathedral:

    Jesus carries the Cross, from a church in Nuremberg:

    Troy conquest - from a church in Rome:

    Figure of woman, Italian sculpture from 1472. Exhibited in Berlin Museum, destroyed in WW2 and restored:

    Copy of Verrochio sculpture (original in Florence), David and Goliath:

    "The Becket Casket." V&A Museum, London. From Limoges, France, ca. 1180-1190:

     The Sculptures Court:

    Albert Einstein, 1933, by Jacob Epstein:

    Propspero and Ariel, 1931, by Eric Gill:

    Crouching Boy, Manfred Turner, 1934:

    Rodin Sculptures:

     The Age of Bronze, circa1876, by Auguste Rodin:

    Balsac, Rodin, 1891-1892:

    Michelangelo's Moses, 1513-1515 (cast):

    Donatello, David, 1425-30 (cast):

    Caius Gabriel Cibber, 1680-1690:

    Three Lions from Rosenburg castle, Copenhagen:

     The Historical Fashion Exhibit is a major highlight of interest to young and old even if fashion isn't necessarily your thing and of major international importance:

     Grace Kelly,  Style Icon exhibition, evening dresses, the 20ths of the 20 century:

    Grace Kelly, Style Icon exhibition, Day dresses, 1935:

     John Madjesk Garden - V & A Museum inner court:


  • Museums | Germany > Todtnau
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Before visiting the waterfalls you might like to visit the local glass factory and museum, located in an old wooden house, 3 stories high, called “Glosblaserhof”. Here you will find glass artifacts, jewels and other fine (and expansive) accessories. There is also a nice restaurant in the location.

  • Museums | Slovenia > Radovljica
    Updated at Jun 22,2013

    We toured the town with its picturesque houses and visited the honey cakes museum. We received an explanation in English about the baking process. The women were dressed in typical Slovenian clothes. 

  • Museums | Slovenia > Kropa
    Updated at Jul 10,2013

    When we got there we were immediately approached by the local crazy woman, and in order to escape her and the rain we went into the blacksmith museum. We joined an organized group and heard some explanations. On the wall we saw grates in a variety of shapes and forms, a few animals and a mask. We were pretty disappointed, having driven all the way here. Every welder back home can make decorative grates. The town was lovely but in the rain it seemed a little wretched. 

  • Museums | Peru > Lima > Museo de la Nación
    Updated at Jul 3,2013

    The National Museum is the largest Peruvian History museum in Lima. It features numerous exhibits from the Pre-Conquest cultures, spreading over 3 floors and organized chronologically. The exhibitions include scale models of many of the Inca sights around Cusco as well as items from north of Peru. The museum is lacking in English explanation (or at least it was in 2012).

    Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 9:00-18:00; Saturday-Sunday 10:00-18:00. Entry is 9 Soles.

  • Museums | Peru > Cusco > Museo Inka
    Updated at Jul 3,2013

    The Museo Inka (Incan Museum), also known as the Archaeological Museum of Cusco, features artifacts from Peruvian history - from Pre-Inca civilizations and Inca culture, and the impact of the Spanish on these native cultures.

    The main attraction in the museum is the collection of Inca mummies. Other exhibits includes ceramics, textiles, vases, jewelry, architectural models, and a collection of Inca drinking vessels, carved out of wood. 

    Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-18:00; Saturday 9:00-16:00

  • Museums
    Updated at Dec 5,2013

    One Day in Windsor Castle & Park: Must see in England.


    By train: To Windsor from London Waterloo or London Paddington. Then 5 mins walk to the Castle.The Castle is at the top of a steep hill. Getting to this famous royal Castle is easy. Trains from Waterloo to Windsor & Eaton Riverside Station depart every half hour throughout the day, hourly on Sundays. The journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
    Windsor & Eton Riverside - About a 10 minutes walk.

    Trains from Paddington to Windsor Central depart every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day. The journey takes about 35 minutes. You have to change trains at Slough. Take one of the frequent trains from London Paddington Station to Slough, get off and cross the platform to the single line train to Windsor and Eton Central Station, get off and follow the crowd through the modern shopping center that has grown around the station and up the hill to the castle.

    By coach: Green Line operates daily services from London Victoria Coach Station.

    Note: There is no visitor car parking at the Castle. No shelter from the rain or the wind. It might be unpleasant waiting outside the palace ( a long line until you buy your tickets) - if it is raining outside. With the London Pass you can skip that and get into the much shorter "fast track" line.The Admission Centre is at its busiest between 09:30 and 11:30, so you may like to consider arriving after 11:30.  Very important: BUY YOUR TICKETS BEFOREHAND! You get to go right in and not wait online. Buying your ticket through the web will give you the rare opportunity to skip the queue and go straight to security check. Photography and filming are not permitted inside the State Apartments, the Semi-State Rooms or St George's Chapel.  Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel but only in the outside grounds. Visitors wishing to leave the Castle for refreshments in the town may obtain re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point. Once inside the grounds, the crowd thins out a bit as there is much to see. But, lines begin inside for the main exhibits as well. The guided outside tour is included in the admission price and certainly worth the additional time. Pick up your free audio headphone guide, comes in really useful during the whole tour as it explains wonderfully the history of the palace and the royals. The free audio tour is very informative and easy to use.

    Duration: Allow 1 day for the transportation, queuing-up and the visit itself.  A typical visit lasts 3-4  hours.

    Opening times:

    March to October
    Open daily 09:45-17:15
    (last admission 16:00)

    November to February
    Open daily 09:45-16:15
    (last admission 15:00).

    St. George’s Chapel is closed to visitors on Sundays. The Castle is closed: 25-26 December, 18 April, 20 April  (closed until 13:00), 16 June,
    25-26 December.

    Admission prices: very expensive. Standard: Adult £17.75, Over 60/Student  £16.15, Under 17 £10.60, Under 5 Free, Family £46.50 (2 adults and 3 under 17s). With these prices you get 1-year pass:  free re-admission for a year if you buy your ticket directly from the palace tickets office. At the end of your visit, don’t forget to ask a Warden to stamp your ticket to convert it into a 1-Year Pass. It's not a cheap day out, but well worth it.

    Highlights: The Castle is a real highlight. Follow the moat wall around and go onto the North Terrace where you will have fine views of the countryside. This is the oldest occupied Castle in the world. The lavishly furnished and decorated State Apartments are amazing and will far exceed your expectations. Also Queen Mary's Doll's House and St. George's Chapel are a must do. The changing of the guard, with all it's pomp and splendor- is far more grand than the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. After touring the castle walk around town, lots to do there as well. All in all, an inspiring day.

    The castle is not only a great historical monument of British royal heritage, it is also one of the current official residences of the Queen and her family. See and feel what is was like to be Royalty through the ages. Windsor castle's exterior is not the most impressive of castles, but once you take a step inside to its interior, Windsor Castle has no rival. The state rooms are filled with priceless artifacts. The rooms are splendid and large. It really is a trip back in time. It has some of the most fascinating treasures accumulated by the British over time - including the throne and swords of Tipu Sultan (those of Indian background would know him as the Tiger of Mysore). It's also good to see the incredible restoration work completed by modern day craftsmen and women following the horrific fire in year 1992.

    See the guard changing at 11.00. - Awesome!  You can go through St. George's Cathedral at 10.00 and get your place for the changing right outside at about 10:30. The ceremony lasts about 30 minutes. For most of the year Guard Mounting takes place on alternate dates, but it is held daily (except Sundays) from April to July. The new guard, accompanied by the band, march from Victoria barracks, up Sheet Street, left into the High Street, past the Parish Church and the Guildhall, then turn right onto Castle Hill by Queen Victoria's Statue and into the Castle.

    Windsor Castle State Apartments: (no photos allowed !):

    Some parts of the State Apartments were completely destroyed in the 1992 fire. One of the major benefits to arise from the restoration work was the return of George IV’s decorative scheme to its original splendour, using the original designs that survive in the Royal Library.

    The King's Drawing Room:Paintings by Rubens and Van Dyke and a remarkable musical clock.

    The King's Bed chamber.

    The King's Dressing Room: Some of the most important Northern Renaissance paintings in the Royal Collection, including Breughel's painting the Massacre of the Innocents and a wonderful portrait of a Lady in Green by Bronzino.

    The Queen's Drawing Room: Among the paintings look for the famous Portrait of Charles I in three positions by Van Dyke.

    The King's Dining Room: Created for Charles II's private entertaining, it is dark and masculine, covered in rococco decoration and wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

    The Queen's Ballroom: Among the collection of Van Dykes, look for the portrait of the five eldest children of Charles I, the King beheaded in 1649.St. George's Hall: Often used for state banquets, this room is 185 feet long and can hold a table that seats 160. The ceiling  is a new hammer-beam roof, constructed of oak wood after the 1992 fire using medieval carpentry methods. The shields are coats of arms of the Garter Knights.

    The Lantern Lobby: Formerly a private chapel, this is where it is believed the 1992 fire began. Today it is used to display gilded silver objects from the Royal Collection. A suit of Henry VIII's armor against a wall gives some idea of the old king's size.

    Queen Mary's doll house is not to be missed despite the long queues. While you are walking around, near the entrance line to the Dolls House, you will have a view over the local land, and there should be a small mobile ice cream stall nearby. Ice cream here is made from the Queen's dairy herd and is very good. Queen Mary's Doll House, now on permanent display at Windsor Castle, was a gift to Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II's grandmother, who was fond of miniatures. Queen Mary's Doll House is very popular. Only a few people at a time are allowed in to see it, so the wait can be very long. Check the signs posted along the queue that count off the time remaining in line in 15 minute increments. It is worth the wait, but bring along a jacket as the entrance on the North Terrace is one of the highest spots around and can get windy and cold.

    If you have limited time, leave an extra 20 minutes to go through the St. George Chapel. Very nice. I would say this is better to see on its own.  St. George's Church will take your breath away with it's raw beauty, but also because of it's history and tombs of many notable royals. St George's Chapel is the burial place of the former King and Queen Mother as well as Henry VIII. The Chapel is open to visitors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. During worship services, including Sunday services, the Chapel is closed to visitors but the public is welcome to attend to take part.

    List of tombs in St. George Chapel:

    The tombs of King George V and Queen Mary.

    Look for the elaborate but rather moving carved memorial to Princess Charlotte, only child of King George IV, who died in childbirth. The memorial is in a side chapel toward the back of the nave.

    A side chapel that can be seen off the north Quire aisle, holds the relatively simply memorials of Queen Elizabeth II's parents (George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and her sister, Princess Margaret.

    A simple stone slab in the center aisle of the Quire is the entrance to a vault that holds the tombs of Henry VIII, Charles I (beheaded by Cromwell's forces, after the English Civil War) and Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's third wife, who died following the birth of Henry VIII's only son).

    After leaving the Castle - you should at least walk around the castle and the old town close to it. The magnificent, enormous castle is perched on a hill overlooking the estate in one direction and the city of Windsor in the other. Walk through the quaint town and enjoy lunch at one of the various dining establishments.

    Before heading to Windsor Park - walk a few minutes to Windsor centre. Set among the splendor of historic Windsor with its easy access, famous visitor attractions and superb shopping and dining offers, the Guildhall is an ideal place for meetings and celebrations including weddings and civil partnerships. This elegant grade 1 listed building, designed by Sir Thomas Fitch and completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1689 is steeped in history and is a dominant feature of the town:

    Windsor Great Park is a wonderful place to walk around, with many trails leading to many different sides of the park to see. There is a great walk from the castle, known as the Long Walk. It heads out towards a monument of King George on a copper horse The Long Walk is actually a 3 mile walk. The first mile is to the road (crossing the Park) and the 2nd and 3rd in the country with deer everywhere. Fantastic outdoors feeling, just walk, walk and walk. This is a lovely park you can either walk through it but be warned it is huge and you will get lost or end up somewhere you don't expect. I suggest looking at a map in order to plan your day as it is very easy to get lost. No toilets around. It is peaceful, clean and really beautiful. The view of the Windsor Castle is really great from here. I would recommend sparing a special, dedicated (clear) day for exploring the park and walking the Long Walk from the Castle and back. The views back to Windsor Castle are quite breathtaking. Stunning park, magical views. Can't be missed:

  • Museums | Italy
    Updated at Aug 8,2014

    Vatican Museums III - The Sistine Chapel:


    Bring along binoculars so you can see the details better.

    Sistine Chapel is the last part of the tour of the Vatican Museums, about 250 m after the entrance.

    There are many signs pointing to it. The museum is one way so follow the crowd and you’ll eventually get there.

    You enter through a door at the altar end.

    The visit is around 20-40 minutes.

    There are several security guards ensuring that: you do not (under any circumstance) take pictures.  Don’t speak too loud. Leave as soon as possible so more eager tourists can come in.

    Strict dress code is imposed.

    There are benches at either side of the chapel.

    Beware that the chapel is closed on religious holidays and some other random days.

    Beware when the chapel is the most crowded: Saturdays, free Sundays, rainy days and days before a religious closure. Best on afternoons or Wednesday mornings before 11 am.

    Skip the line and buy your tickets online (And yes, there is a line and it is LONG!) (See Vatican I blog).

    Take the short walk (signposted) directly to the Sistine Chapel, as early as possible, and see it first with the fewest visitors. You then follow the route to the exit and before you go down the circular stairs to the exit, you can slip back into the entrance area and complete the tour at a more leisurely pace. There is a cafe just before the Chapel. It may be a good idea you go in, so we stopped for a drink and a cake to give us time to refuel yourself - before entering the Sisteen Chapel. Be prepared that the crowds will really take away from the experience. To ensure the respect due to a sacred place, explanation is not permitted within the Sistine Chapel, even if visitors are provided with Group Tour radio systems. Explanation may be offered prior to entry in the Chapel, using the dedicated panels on display throughout the museum itinerary.

    The chapel is a high rectangular building, for which absolute measurements are hard to ascertain, as available measurements are for the interior: 40.9 metres (134 ft) long by 13.4 metres (44 ft) wide, the dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament. It is about 25m long and about 15m wide. Its a heavily guarded room where the ceiling is painted by the master of all masters: Michelangelo. It is an oblong large painting with several portions within one painting, depicting his celestial vision of the bible, Roughly in the middle of the ceiling ou see The Creation of Adam part; where God touching finger with Man. The frescoes on the ceiling were painted when Michelangelo was 33 years old. He finished them 4 years later.  The Last Judgement can being also the highlight as the detail in it is amazing. Michelangelo came back in his fifties and painted The Last Judgment which you find on the wall on the right hand side. Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor, not a painter. While in his 30s, he was commanded by Julius II to stop work on the Pope's own tomb and to devote his considerable talents to painting ceiling frescoes (an art form of which the Florentine master was contemptuous). Michelangelo labored for 4 years (1508-12) over this epic project, which was so physically taxing that it permanently damaged his eyesight. All during the task, he had to contend with the Pope's incessant urgings to hurry up; at one point, Julius threatened to topple Michelangelo from the scaffolding -- or so Vasari relates in his Lives of the Artists. It's ironic that a project undertaken against the artist's wishes would form his most enduring legend. Glorifying the human body as only a sculptor could, Michelangelo painted nine panels, taken from the pages of Genesis, and surrounded them with prophets and sibyls. The most notable panels detail the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and the creation of man. The Florentine master was in his 60s when he began the masterly Last Judgment on the altar wall. Here, Michelangelo presents a more jaundiced view of people and their fate; God sits in judgment and sinners are plunged into the mouth of hell. A master of ceremonies under Paul III, Monsignor Biagio da Cesena, protested to the Pope about the "shameless nudes" painted by Michelangelo. Michelangelo showed that he wasn't above petty revenge by painting the prude with the ears of a jackass in hell. When Biagio complained to the Pope, Paul III maintained that he had no jurisdiction in hell.

    On the side walls are frescoes by other Renaissance masters, such as Botticelli, Perugino, Signorelli, Pinturicchio, Roselli, and Ghirlandaio. Unfortunately, because they compete with Michelangelo's artistry, they're virtually ignored by visitors. The twisting ignudi or male nudes that decorate the corners of the ceiling were terribly controversial when executed.

    The restoration of the Sistine Chapel in the 1990s touched off a worldwide debate among art historians. The restoration took years as restorers used advanced computer analyses in their painstaking and controversial work. They reattached the fresco and repaired the ceiling, ridding the frescoes of their dark and shadowy look. Critics claim that in addition to removing centuries of dirt and grime -- and several of the added "modesty" drapes -- the restorers removed a vital second layer of paint as well. Purists argue that many of the restored figures seem flat compared with the originals, which had more shadow and detail. Others have hailed the project for saving Michelangelo's masterpiece for future generations to appreciate and for revealing the vibrancy of his color palette.


    The ceiling rises to 20 metres above the main floor of the chapel. The vault is of quite a complex design and it is unlikely that it was originally intended to have such elaborate decoration. Pier Matteo d'Amelia provided a plan for its decoration with the architectural elements picked out and the ceiling painted blue and dotted with gold stars, similar to that of the Arena Chapel decorated by Giotto at Padua.[26]The chapel walls have three horizontal tiers with six windows in the upper tier down each side. There were also two windows at each end, but these have been closed up above the altar when Michelangelo's Last Judgement was painted, obliterating two lunettes. Between the windows are large pendentives which support the vault. Between the pendentives are triangularly shaped arches or spandrels cut into the vault above each window. Above the height of the pendentives, the ceiling slopes gently without much deviation from the horizontal.[26] This is the real architecture. Michelangelo has elaborated it with illusionary or fictive architecture.

    The ceiling is basically four topics:

    • A central spine depicting nine scenes from the Book of Genesis.
    • Prophets and sibyls on the sides.
    • Lunettes and spandrels with the ancestors of Jesus.
    • The pendentives with scenes of the people of Israel.

    The central spine Stories:

    The first group shows God creating the Heavens and the Earth. The second group shows God creating the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and their disobedience of God and consequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden where they have lived and where they walked with God. The third group of three pictures shows the plight of Humanity, and in particular the family of Noah.

    The scenes should be read from the altar to the back of the chapel, starting with the Separation of Light from Darkness and ending with the Drunkenness of Noah.

    Scene 1: Separation of Light from Darkness.

    Scene 2: Creation of the sun, moon and plants.

    Scene 3: Separation of Land from Sea.

    Scene 4: Creation of Adam.

    Scene 5: Creation of Eve.

    Scene 6: Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden.

    Scene 7: Sacrifice of Noah.

    Scene 8: The Flood.

    Scene 9: Drunkenness of Noah.

    The prophets and the sibyls

    Being the first to predict the coming of Jesus, the prophets and sibyls are represented with a text label below them. The prophets saw the coming of Christ for the people of Israel, while the sibyls, not really Christian but pagan, are there to symbolically extend this grace over all mankind.

    Michelangelo's Prophets and Sibyls painted in the Sistine Chapel are commanding works of art in their own right. These figures, are the largest on the Vault of the Chapel. Around the center of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are twelve prophetic figures all representing the coming of Christ. Seven of these are Israeli Prophets, and the remaining five are the female Sibyls of the Classical World. The alternating male and female figures are seated on thrones and are depicted reading manuscripts, books or scrolls.

    The pagan Sibyls have been included to symbolize that the Messiah was to come for all the people of the world and not just the Jews. They are: Jonah,


    Persian Sibyl,


    Erythraean Sibyl,



    Delphic Sibyl,


    Cumaean Sibyl,


    Libyan Sibyl.

    The lunettes and spandrels

    It is unclear still whether the figures in the triangular spandrels are part of the ancestors of Christ as named below in groups of three on the lunettes.

    Ancestors of Christ: figures:

    Salmon as a child (?):

    Jesse as a child (?):

    Rehoboam as a child(?):

    Uzziah as a child (?):

    Hezekiah as a child (?):

    Shealtiel as a child (?):

    Zerubbabel as a child(?):

    The pendentives

    Michelangelo decided to illustrate four Biblical passages related to the salvation of Israel in these triangular areas at the corners of the ceiling.

    The chapel has four triangular pendentives in each of it's corners. These curved shapes have been decorated with stories depicting the salvation of the Jewish people.

    The four are:

    The Brazen Serpent

    The Punishment of Haman

    David and Goliath

    Judith and Holofernes (I read that the head of Holofernes is a self-portrait of Michelangelo).

    The Last Judgement - the Front Wall:

    The mighty composition, painted by Michelangelo between 1536 and 1541, is centred around the dominant figure of Christ, captured in the moment preceding that when the verdict of the Last Judgement is uttered.


    North Wall (right from the entrance): The stories of Christ, dating to 1481–1482:

    Baptism of Christ by Pietro Perugino and assistants

    Temptation of Christ by Sandro Botticelli

    Vocation of the Apostles by Domenico Ghirlandaio

    The Sermon on the Mount, attributed to Cosimo Rosselli

    The Delivery of the Keys by Pietro Perugino

    The Last Supper by Cosimo Rosselli

    South Wall (left from the entrance): The Stories of Moses, painted in 1481–1482. Starting from the altar, they include:

    Moses Leaving to Egypt by Pietro Perugino and assistants

    The Trials of Moses by Sandro Botticelli and his workshop

    The Crossing of the Red Sea by Cosimo Rosselli, Domenico Ghirlandaio or Biagio di Antonio Tucci

    Descent from Mount Sinai by Cosimo Rosselli or Piero di Cosimo

    Punishment of the Rebels by Sandro Botticelli

    Sandro Botticelli - the punishment of Korah and the stoning of Moses and Aaron detail

    Testament and Death of Moses by Luca Signorelli or Bartolomeo della Gatta

    Entrance Wall: This wall has frescos of the two final episodes of the cycles of Moses and Christ: the Resurrection of Christ and the Discussion over the body of Moses: