The Sistine Chapel

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The Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy was first completed in 1481. Throughout the years, there have been multiple restorations of the ceiling to remove debris and clean the artwork. These restorations created much controversy on whether the cleaning was ethical and kept the artists initial intent. The restorations have kept the ceiling in tact and from fading in color and forms completely, however, it also changed the original beauty of Michelangelo’s work. There is not a single way to examine the legitimacy of these restorations, nor is there one correct opinion because every argument intertwines and influences the other.
Color plays a major role in Michelangelo’s paintings and one of the main aspects to consider when debating the restorations.
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Michelangelo’s work was originally painted as a fresco in the vault. The chapel had candles placed in order to see the ceiling with the blinds closed. This was a problem because the smoke from the candles left dust and soot on the ceiling, casting a dark, hazy shadow. The forms were not as defined as they were when first painted, but when the paintings were restored, their livelihood and made the ceiling clearer than ever before. Some would argue that Michelangelo did not know his artwork would become faded from the candle smoke, and the restoration was an invasion of his work’s appearance. However, elements such as small details and contrast between light and dark shadows that implied form, were salvaged from becoming fully lost in the dust. This process restored Michelangelo’s work a key piece of our century and…show more content…
Without restoring the Chapel the first time, candle dust would eventually cover the entire ceiling and the art work would not be recognizable and lack it’s primal beauty. However, the second restoration completely changed the intention of Michelangelo’s work; altering the use of color in his traditional pallet, which overpowered the ceiling. For the sole purpose of maintaining the artwork as a whole and keeping it’s clarity, the restorations should be supported. The restorations are in general, beneficial to the Chapel and those who visit it, but the original work is no longer visible or taken into consideration when being
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