Frescoes by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, and Signorelli cover the side walls of the chapel. They depict scenes from the lives of Moses and Jesus, symbolizing the reign of law and of grace, respectively. There are also varicolored marble mosaics on the chapel's floor. Another treasure of the chapel is its collection of illuminated music manuscripts in the archives of the choir. A dozen tapestries designed by Raphael for the chapel's lower walls are no longer hung there.
In 1980 cleaning and restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes began with the test cleaning of small areas; full-scale work started the following year and was completed in 1994. The cleaning became controversial as it proceeded, as many experts accused the restorers of distorting or destroying the frescoes, but others defended the work, astonished at the colorist that the restoration revealed the artist to be. The cleaning of chapel frescoes by Botticelli, Perugino, and other painters was completed in 1999.
See C. Pietrangeli, The Sistine Chapel (1986); The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration (1995).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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