General view of the interior, before cleaning
It is very difficult for any ordinary mortal to imagine how it could be possible for one
human being to achieve what Michelangelo achieved in four years of lonely work on
the scaffolding of the papal chapel. The mere physical
exertion of painting this huge fresco on the ceiling of the
chapel, of preparing and sketching the scenes in detail and
transferring them to the wall, is fantastic enough. Michelangelo
had to lie on his back and paint looking upwards. In fact, he became
so used to this cramped position that even when he received a letter
during this period he had to hold it over his head and bend backwa-
rds to read it.
But the physical performance of one man covering this
vast space unaided is as nothing compared to the intellectual and artistic achievement. The wealth of ever -new inventions, the unfailing mastery of execution in every detail, and, above all, the grandeur of the visions which Michelangelo revealed to those who came after him, have given
mankind a quite new idea of the power of genius.