1508 – At the insistence of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo begins work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He writes this note to himself, “On this day, May 10, 1508, I Michelangelo, sculptor, have received on account from our Holy Lord Pope Julius II five hundred papal ducats toward the painting of the ceiling of the papal Sistine Chapel, on which I am beginning work today.”
Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a masterpiece without precedent, that was to change the course of Western art. In a different climate after the Sack of Rome, he returned and between 1535 and 1541, painted The Last Judgment for Popes Clement VII and Paul III. The fame of Michelangelo’s paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors to the chapel, ever since they were revealed five hundred years ago.