15 thoughts on “Michelangelo’s Last Judgment

  1. Remy Marcus

    Its amazing how much art has changed over the years. Back then, there were such restrictions on what should be depicted in these pieces, and now it seems that art can be anything, and people can include whatever images they want in their artwork. Its strange how they even went to the extent of having someone paint over his work, I feel this is sad because they altered Michelangelo’s work. Fortunately, the copy of the work seems very exact so we can see close to what Michelangelo showed in his original.

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  2. Deniz Halici

    I like how the Cardinal asked Marcello Venusti to paint a copy of the Last Judgement before it was censored even thought it was the Church that asked Daniele da Volterra to cover private parts in the original. It’s interesting to me that though the Church deemed that religious paintings shouldn’t be showing full nudity by way of creating lust,Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who is part of the church, asks for a copy to be commissioned. I understand his fear of the original being destroyed especially since the Church didn’t like nudity in their art but Michelangelo’s painting was said to finished in 1541 if the Church wanted it destroyed I feel like they would have destroyed it after it was finished but the Cardinal waited till 1549 to commission a copy.

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  3. Elisa Tedesco

    I feel very saddened by the fact that Marcello Venusti painted a copy of this so that viewers know what Michelangelo’s looked like. There’s just something that doesn’t set right with that to me. However, I appreciate the fact that they tried to keep it alive. It’s interesting that Venusti painted it uncensored as well, despite what the Church liked.

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  4. Haley Spencer

    It’s sad that the church would decide to paint over Michelangelo’s nudes, as he is just trying to show them in their most natural state. Along with the fact that Michelangelo, who was hired to make this fresco and with such a high standing as he has, that people would decide to almost destroy his work and artist image of the Last Judgment. Even though there is a copy by Venusti, it’s still not Michelangelo’s work and doesn’t make it as authentic or real as the original.

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  5. Edan Lyons

    Art on many levels moving into the 18th, 19th, and 20th century started to take a turn to the political pointing a finger at society and testing the people in it. I think Michelangelo was in a way doing this to his contemporaries. I think he was trying to push the limits of what art could be and this action has made art what it is today. Having the nudes painted more conservatively was a perfectly clement way in responding to something that at the time was so outlandish and in itself shares a tremendous about societal values at the time.

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  6. Jessica Rolaf

    After reading this article, the ideas presented amazed me on how much controversy was discussed based on the nudity presented in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. In the artwork seen today, anything can be expressed as art and nudity is not as frowned upon around the time of the 17th and 18th centuries. I also found that Cardinal Alessandro Farnese producing another copy of this artwork should be found appreciated among individuals, so that the people of today can refer back to this imitation and see what the work of Michelangelo consisted of.

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  7. tyler houston

    The interesting part to me about all this are the things that seemed to not bother the church. In a Michelangelo class with Prof. Schrader he pointed out that the hellish pit in the bottom center of the painting is located directly above where the alter would be located, something you would think the Church wouldn’t like, if nudity provokes lustful feeling why don’t hellish imagery of demons provoke evil or violent feelings? Also, according to Prof. Schrader, in the bottom right of the painting in the center of hell the horned figure wrapped by a serpent is said to be Minos, a borrowed character from mythology who played some part in the underworld(unfortunately I cant remember the exact details), but for the face of Minos Michelangelo put the face of the current popes master of ceremony(again I cant remember the name). Not to mention that the serpent is also striking him in a unfavorable place as well. I would think these images and aspects too might have come under fire by the church, being that Minos is not at all a Christian subject, but I suppose covering the nudity was the best middle ground for enforcing their will as well as keeping as much of the original as possible if I were to guess.

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  8. Aleana Purcell

    It’s upsetting that Michelangelo’s painting was altered after he died. Even though we missed out on seeing the original piece by such a famous artist, the Judgment Day Painting has a colorful history. Although the characters were covered in the painting, it’s apart of that paintings past and history. We should embrace it and take it as a context for the time period. It adds a controversial drama to the painting which makes it more interesting.

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  9. Cody Nester

    Censorship in art is always a cause for controversy, but it is still a miraculous piece, having seen it in person it is still a grand work despite the alterations that it had. One can just use this censorship as another way to look at what was going on in the times of the pieces creation, that is what a good art historian would do. The copy of the original is still an important piece to understand what was controversial, allowing one to examine even deeper into the catholic mindset at the time.

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  10. Kathleen Elliott

    I think it is ironic how, after centuries of nudity in art, this work was the one chosen to be censored. I also think that you can look at this issue in two ways. The first was is that you can look at it from the perspective that great art was lost in the covering of the nude forms. When Michelangelo’s forms were covered, we lost a window into the mind of the artist. Even though we have a copy of the original, we will never know the movement of his brush or see the masterpiece he intended the work to be. However, the other way we can look at this issue is that it serves as a window to the past. Based on the decisions/actions of the Council of Trent we now have an idea of what was expected of artists in that time period. Even though the loss of art is regrettable, the whole affair could be seen as a blessing in disguise.

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  11. Khadijah Johnson

    Art has definitely changed over the years, but not as much as we think. I believe that people during Michelangelo’s time were more open about nudity than we are now. Theses days if a celebrity shows even a little bit of nudity people go insane. During the Renaissance, people thought of the human body as an at work alone. There are so many different shapes to the human body, and so much the human body can do. i also believe that in Michelangelo’s The last Judgement, it resembled work of Adam and Eve. when humans were first put on this earth they were not clothed. So In Michelangelo’s work along with other masterpieces, artists tend to embrace the human anatomy. More so in the Renaissance.

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  12. Olivia Gallagher

    This article was a very interesting read. I never knew there was such controversy to this piece by Michelangelo. What was surprising was that the Council of Trent had condemned the nudity, especially during the Renaissance when nudity was a popular theme for some artists. Another point in the reading that was shocking was that there was an artist commissioned to cover Michelangelo’so work. It’s fascinating that art has changed over history.

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  13. Cara Dudley

    This was an interesting article to read. The paintings were even more interesting to compare. It would’ve been neat if they had kept the original and hadn’t found it offending. I mean when this was commissioned it was left up to Michelangelo’s interpretation. I feel they took away from his original piece by adding the clothes. At least someone had the idea to recreate the original painting so we had something to use as reference to the original looking one.

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  14. Allison Skowronski

    I find it interesting that all the different leaders of the Catholic Church have such opposing points of view on how paintings should represent the Church. When Michelangelo painted this piece during the Renaissance, the human body was celebrated as a work of art and it is disappointing that Pope Pius IV had the nudity covered up. I am glad that Cardinal Alessandro Farnese wanted patrons to be able to view the work in its’ original form so he commissioned Marcello Venusti to paint a copy of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in 1549. Even though the Church had the painting censored, at least they had the painting redone so that Michelangelo’s work could be seen.

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  15. Brittany Johnson

    Michelangelo has always been one of my favorite artists because of his contrarian attitude toward the church. Censorship of artwork, especially when the Renaissance was all about depicting more realistic and secular perspectives of life, seems especially counter productive for the time period. I also read somewhere that Michelangelo painted plenty insults directed at the Pope in this particular piece which I find pretty hilarious.

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