michealangelo the last judgement
The Last Judgment is a fresco by Michelangelo painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Clement VII commissioned the painting in 1534, the last year of his papacy. After the election of Paul III Farnese, Michelangelo, aged 61, began work in 1536. He completed the Last Judgement in the autumn of 1541.
The Last Judgment shows the Second Coming of Christ, as described by John the Evangelist in the apocalypse. The painting depicts the moment when the living and dead are judged by Christ, and their souls consigned to heaven or hell.
6. “The Last Judgement” was massive, measuring approximately 39 feet by 45 feet. In comparison, The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo da Vinci was approximately 15 feet by 29 feet.
7. Some of the ways Michelangelo took artistic license with the biblical story include his beardless Christ, the omission of Christ’s throne and his host of wingless angels. In fact, just after the artist’s death, Giovanni Andrea Gillio collected all Michelangelo’s departures from the biblical tradition in a book entitled “Due Dialogi.”
The movements of the souls reflect the traditional pattern. They arise from their graves at bottom left, and some continue upwards, helped in several cases by angels in the air (mostly without wings) or others on clouds, pulling them up. Others, the damned, apparently pass over to the right, though none are quite shown doing so; there is a zone in the lower middle that is empty of souls. A boat rowed by an aggressive Charon, who ferried souls to the Underworld in classical mythology (and Dante), brings souls to land beside the entrance to Hell; his threatening them with his oar is a direct borrowing from Dante. Satan, the traditional Christian devil is not shown, but another classical figure, Minos, supervises the admission of the Damned into Hell; this was his role in Dante’s Inferno. He is generally agreed to have been given the features of Biagio da Cesena, a critic of Michelangelo in the Papal court. 
In the lower part of the fresco, Michelangelo followed tradition in showing the saved ascending at the left and the damned descending at the right. In the upper part, the inhabitants of Heaven are joined by the newly saved. The fresco is more monochromatic than the ceiling frescoes and is dominated by the tones of flesh and sky. The cleaning and restoration of the fresco, however, revealed a greater chromatic range than previously apparent. Orange, green, yellow, and blue are scattered throughout, animating and unifying the complex scene.
When executing his “Last Judgement” it would seem that Michelangelo had been given artistic licence to paint scenes, not only from the Bible but also from mythology. This shows great faith in the artist by his patron, Pope Paul III.
Other overpainting was added in the next two centuries and for the same reason.
Michelangelo’s masterpiece was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and is mentioned by Dan Brown in his Inferno.
Surrounding Christ in a slow rotary movement are figures, identified as the saints and God’s elect. Most notable are San Pietro (Saint Peter) holding the Keys of Heaven San Lorenzo (St Laurence) with the gridiron, San Bartolomeo (St Bartholomew) with his own skin, which is usually recognized as a self-portrait of Michelangelo, St Catherine of Alexandria with the cogwheel and St Sebastian kneeling holding the arrows. Many others, even some of the larger saints, are difficult to identify.
Several of the main saints appear to be showing Christ their attributes, the evidence of their martyrdom. This used to be interpreted as the saints calling for the damnation of those who had not served the cause of Christ, but other interpretations have become more common, including that the saints are themselves not certain of their own fate, and try at the last moment to remind Christ of their sufferings.