The Prophet Daniel

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, The Prophet Daniel, 1508-1512.  Fresco, detail from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564), the great Italian Renaissance master, painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the location for papal conclaves and other prominent church services, between 1508 and 1512. Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling with scenes from Genesis and portraits of the prophets, including this detail showing the prophet Daniel seated on a marble throne. The composition portrays Daniel in gigantic proportions, allowing viewers to admire the work from a distance.  Famously, while Michelangelo was atop a platform painting Daniel, a violent earthquake shook Rome. The platform jerked, sending Michelangelo tumbling to the scaffolding floor.  He sought safety on a stone ledge where the scaffold was secured.


Michelangelo, Prophet Daniel, detail, 1508–12. Fresco, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

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