- "I live and love in God's peculiar light."
- –Michelangelo Buonarroti
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The beauty of Rome's Sistine Chapel has long served as a testament to the mixture of strong religious beliefs and the love of art shared by the people of Renaissance Europe. The great Italian artist Michelangelo devoted four years to painting the mural that adorns the ceiling of the Apostolic Palace, the building that is the official residence of the Pope. Michelangelo's great work depicts events in the book of Genesis and other Biblical stories. Twenty years before Michelangelo began his work on the ceiling, other great Italian artists had painted the walls of the structure with various religious scenes.
Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling. He worked on the painting from 1508 to 1512. According to legend, Michelangelo had not wanted to work on the project at all. He was intimidated by the scale of the work and he believed that his true talents lay as a sculptor. In any event, Michelangelo's work has been acclaimed as one of the greatest paintings in western history. Few visitors to the Sistine Chapel have failed to be moved by the artist's dedication to his subject, or his feeling for the nature of human struggle, suffering, and spiritual triumph.