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How many panels make up the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

Question #63244. Asked by babey_blue.

Answer has 6 votes
Currently Best Answer
18 year member
4406 replies avatar

Answer has 6 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Let's see how fast I can do this:

There are:

9 Creation and other Genesis panels

4 Old Testament scenes in the corner pendentives

8 spandrel scenes depicting the Ancestors of Christ

12 Prophets and Sibyls

That's 33 panels, but the 14 lunettes (also depicting Ancestors of Christ) at the tops of the walls are usually included. There used to be 16, but Michelangelo himself sanctioned the destruction of 2 on the west (altar) wall, to make way for the "Last Judgment."

Then there are 20 Ignudi, along with assorted bronze nudes, putti, caryatids, and subsidiary Old Testament scenes flanking the Genesis scenes. Altogether, the ceiling involves over 300 figures.

The text in this site is poor, but the diagram isn't bad, though it doesn't include the lunettes. Click to enlarge:


Mar 08 2006, 5:21 PM
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