Day School: The Art and Architecture of the Sistine Chapel

Ref: C3744216

The Sistine Chapel was called by Goethe the 'highest expression of man's mind', yet many miss the true meaning of these great works. After its rebuilding in the 15C a team of eminent Florentine artists, including Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, was called in to decorate the walls with a mysterious fresco cycle devised by the pope and his advisers. Shortly after this, Julius II persuaded Michelangelo to create the great programme of art across the Chapel ceiling. Then came Raphael to initiate a series of cartoons from which tapestries would be woven to hang on the lower part of the walls. Finally Michelangelo returned to complete the mighty 'Last Judgement' on the altar wall. The whole decoration took more than 50 years to complete - yet, despite the passage of time, a single message can be read across these walls. This exciting study day will seek to examine all these works in turn, and so unlock the message left there over 500 years ago.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by the Education 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 is a treasure house of the Italian Renaissance, yet few visitors understand these works. In this study day we shall seek to decode the 'messages' left here by both popes and artists and see what they really say to us.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

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

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

  • appreciate the work of several important artists, including Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Raphael, and Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
  • analyze the motives of the papal patrons here, including Sixtus IV who rebuilt the Chapel, Julius II, and the Medici popes, Leo X and Clement VII
  • understand the subtle programmes of art contained here.
  • evaluate the overall contribution made by these works to Western European art.

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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • A series of detailed handouts are available throughout the day but students often wish to bring their own notebook to record their own thoughts.

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
  • This course could lead to a range of job opportunities. Follow link to National Careers Service for more details
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Day School: The Art and Architecture of the Sistine Chapel

Enrolment Conditions

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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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