Day School: The Art and Architecture of the Sistine Chapel

Ref: C3742684

Goethe once called the Sistine Chapel the 'highest expression of man's mind'. This innovative course will examine the motives of the papal patrons, Sixtus IV and Julius II, in rebuilding this remarkable structure. We proceed to study the little understood wall frescoes painted by important artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli, and seek to unravel their mysteries. We then turn to the great Michelangelo, the frescoes of his mighty ceiling which was to have such an important influence on the future development of art in Italy, and his last work here, the 'Last Judgement' on the altar wall. Finally, we seek to appreciate the overall meaning of this immense programme of art.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by The Education and Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available. Contact the branch for further details.

Course aim

The Sistine Chapel, the Vatican's jewel box, enables the student a rare chance to study three key periods of art history, Early Renaissance, High Renaissance and Mannerism on one site.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • appreciate the motives and the plans of the papal patrons here
  • analyze the puzzling wall frescoes with their hidden meanings.
  • evaluate the importance of the innovative style of Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling
  • understand the Mannerist style of art used by Michelangelo on the altar wall
  • attempt an synthesis of the whole programme of art in the Chapel.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • You may wish to bring your own note book to make supplementary notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Day School: The Art and Architecture of the Sistine Chapel


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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