U.Va. Renaissance Art Expert to Give Talk on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel on March 13

February 27, 2007
Feb. 27, 2007 -- David Summers, an expert on Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance, will give a public lecture on "The Loftiest Possible Interpretation of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling" on Tuesday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 160. A reception will follow in Fayerweather Hall.
The lecture will offer an interpretation of the nine "histories" showing the Creation and Stories of Noah at the top of the vault of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. The chapel as a whole outlines the chronology of the Judaeo-Christian revelation from the Separation of Light and Dark to the papacy and Constantine. The Genesis histories also parallel the liturgy of Holy Saturday, and Summers argues that Michelangelo's choice and arrangement of histories, which have always been regarded as puzzling, were determined by the seventh, highest "sabbatical" interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis written by the Florentine Neoplatonist Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Pico's Heptaplus (as his commentary was titled) was written and published in 1489, while both he and the young Michelangelo were in the Medici household.

Summers is the author of "Michelangelo and the Language of Art" (1981), "The Judgment of Sense: Renaissance Naturalism and the Rise of Aesthetics" (1987), "Real Spaces: World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism" (2003) and the forthcoming book "Vision, Reflection and Imagination in Western Painting."

For information about the lecture contact Sylvia New Strawn at (434) 924-6122 or sns@virginia.edu.