Artinvest2000. Michelangelo "Giudizio Universale" "Universal Judgments" 1536-1541, affresco, mt. 13,70x12,20, Cappella Sistina, Palazzi Vaticani, Città del Vaticano, Roma.

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Michelangelo - Giudizio Universale 1536-41

 

  Italian version

Il Giudizio Universale

Il Giudizio Universale è un affresco di m 13,7 x 12,2 realizzato tra il 1536 ed il 1541 dal pittore italiano Michelangelo Buonarroti.
È conservato nella Cappella Sistina (Musei Vaticani).
Il primo papa ad aver l’idea di far affrescare a Michelangelo la Cappella Sistina fu papa Clemente VII nel 1533, dopo la sua morte il progetto fu ripreso da papa Paolo III ed occupa l’intera parete dietro all’altare della Cappella con oltre trecento figure raggruppate in una potente visione della fine del mondo.
Nel giugno del 1535, Michelangelo fece montare i ponteggi, la parete fu rivestita di uno strato di mattoni, con maggiore spessore in alto e minore in basso, in modo che la superficie risultasse leggermente inclinata, probabilmente per ragioni di migliore visibilità piuttosto che per evitare il deposito delle polveri. Il pittore iniziò a dipingere l’anno successivo dalla lunette, la parte superiore fu terminata nel dicembre 1540; il dipinto venne terminato il 31 ottobre 1541.
Nel gennaio 1564, un mese prima della morte di Michelangelo, il Concilio di Trento approvò la richiesta di alcuni prelati di coprire le parti intime delle figure.
La persona che si occupò di questo lavoro fu Daniele da Volterra, allievo di Michelangelo, e per questo motivo venne soprannominato "Braghettone"; Daniele morì due anni dopo non portando a termine il lavoro.
In seguito papa Clemente VIII ebbe la tentazione di distruggere questa opera, ma fu persuaso a non farlo.
Altri interventi censori seguirono negli anni successivi, alternati ad interventi di manutenzione e di restauro.
I fumi delle candele e le colle date per tentare di aumentare la luminosità dell’affresco finirono col formare un velo scuro di sporco che ne impediva la piena leggibilità.
L’intervento di restauro realizzato tra il 1990 e 1994 ha permesso di recuperare la nitidezza dei colori, il vigore delle forme, la definizione dei particolari e l’unità complessiva dell’opera.
Al centro è raffigurato Cristo circondato dai santi e con la madre al suo fianco.
Gesù è raffigurato con il braccio destro alzato in un gesto collerico di dannazione mentre con la mano sinistra chiama gentilmente a sé i beati.
Sopra di lui, nelle due zone semicircolari, alcuni angeli portano gli strumenti della passione di Cristo: la colonna sulla quale fu flagellato e la croce sulla quale fu crocefisso.
In basso, alla sinistra del Cristo, è raffigurato San Bartolomeo. Sulla pelle che tiene in mano vi è un autoritratto di Michelangelo.
Da notare la figura della Madre di Cristo in atteggiamento rassegnato. Esprime pietà per tutti ma sa che non può intervenire.

 

 English version

Universal Judgments

Divine judgment (judicium divinum), as an immanent act of God, denotes the action of God's retributive justice by which the destiny of rational creatures is decided according to their merits and demerits. In Christian doctrine, this includes:

God's knowledge of the moral worth of the acts of free creatures (scientia approbationis et reprobationis), and His decree determining the just consequences of such acts;
the Divine verdict upon a creature amenable to the moral law, and the execution of this sentence by way of reward and punishment.
Of course, the judgment, as it is in God, cannot be a process of distinct and successive acts; it is a single eternal act identical with the Divine Essence. But the effects of the judgment, since they take place in creatures, follow the sequence of time. The Divine judgment is manifested and fulfilled at the beginning, during the progress and at the end of time.

In the beginning, God pronounced judgment upon the whole race, as a consequence of the fall of its representatives, the first parents (Genesis 3). Death and the infirmities and miseries of this were the consequences of that original sentence. Besides this common judgment there have been special judgments on particular individuals and peoples. Such great catastrophes as Noah's flood (Genesis 6:5), the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 28:20), the earthquake that swallowed up Core and his followers (Numbers 16:30), the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 6:6; 12:12) and the evil that came upon other oppressors of Israel (Ezekiel 25:11; 28:22) are represented in the Bible as Divine judgments. The fear of God is such a fundamental idea in the Old Testament that it insists mainly on the punitive aspect of the judgment (cf. Proverbs 11:31; Ezekiel 14:21). An erroneous view of these truths led many of the rabbis to teach that all the evil which befalls man is a special chastisement from on high, a doctrine which was declared false by Christ.

There is also a judgment of God in the world that is subjective. By his acts man adheres to or deviates from the law of God, and thereby places himself within the sphere of approval or condemnation. In a sense then, each individual exercises judgment on himself. Hence it is declared that Christ came not to judge but to save (John 3:17; 8:15; 12:47). The internal judgment proceeds according to a man's attitude: towards Christ (John 3:18). Though all the happenings of life cannot be interpreted as the outcome of Divine judgment, whose external manifestation is therefore intermittent, the subjective judgment is coextensive with the life of the individual and of the race.

The judgment at the end of time will complement the previous visitations of Divine retribution and will manifest the final result of the daily secret judgment. By its sentence the eternal destiny of creatures will be decided. As there is a twofold end of time, so there is likewise a twofold eternal judgment: the particular judgment, at the hour of death, which is the end of time for the individual, and the general judgment, at the final epoch of the world's existence, which is the end of time for the human race.



Pre-Christian beliefs on judgment after death

The idea of a final readjustment beyond the grave, which would rectify the sharp contrast so often observed between the conduct and the fortune of men, was prevalent among all nations in pre-Christian times. Such was the doctrine of metempsychosis or the transmigration of souls, as a justification of the ways of God to man, prevailing among the Hindus of all classes and sects, the Pythagoreans, the Orphic mystics and the Celtic Druids. The doctrine of a forensic judgment in the unseen world, by which the eternal lot of departed souls is determined, was also widely prevalent in pre-Christian times.

The Pharaonic Egyptian idea of the judgment is set forth with great precision of detail in the "Book of the Dead", a collection of formulas designed to aid the dead in their passage through the underworld.

The Babylonians and the Assyrians made no distinction between the good and the bad so far as the future habitation is concerned. In the Gilgames epic the hero is marked as judge of the dead, but whether his rule was the moral value of their actions is not clear.

An unerring judgment and compensation in the future life was a cardinal point in the mythologies of the Persians, Greeks and Romans. But, while these mythological schemes were credited as strict verities by the ignorant body of the people, the learned saw in them only the allegorical presentation of truth. There were always some who denied the doctrine of a future life, and this unbelief went on increasing till, in the last days of the Republic, skepticism regarding immortality prevailed among Greeks and Romans.

With the Jews, the judgment of the living was a far more prominent idea than the judgment of the dead. The Pentateuch contains no express mention of remuneration in the future life, and only at a comparatively late period, under the influence of a fuller revelation, the belief in resurrection and judgment began to play a capital part in the faith of Judaism. The traces of this theological development are plainly visible in the Machabean era. Then arose the two great opposing parties, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, whose divergent interpretations of Scripture led to heated controversies, especially regarding the future life.

The Sadducees denied all reward and penalty in the hereafter, while there opponents encumbered the truth with ludicrous details. Thus some of the rabbis asserted that the trumpet which would summon the world to judgment would be one of the horns of the ram which Abraham offered up instead of his son Isaac. Again they said: "When God judges the Israelites, He will stand, and make the judgment brief and mild; when He judges the Gentiles, he will sit and make it long and severe." Apart from such rabbinical fables, the current belief reflected in the writings of the rabbis and the pseudographs at the beginning of the Christian Era was that of a preliminary judgment and of a final judgment to occur at the consummation of the world, the former to be executed against the wicked by the personal prowess of the Messiah and of the saints of Israel, the latter to be pronounced as an eternal sentence by God or the Messiah. The particular judgment of the individual person is lost sight of in the universal judgment by which the Messiah vindicate the wrongs endured by Israel.

With Alexandrian Judaism, on the contrary, with that at least of which Philo is the exponent, the dominant idea was that of an immediate retribution after death. The two dissenting sects of Israel, the Essenes and the Samaritans, were in agreement with the majority of Jews as to the existence of a discriminating retribution in the life to come. The Essenes believed in the preexistence of souls, but taught that the after-existence was an unchanging state of bliss or woe according to the deeds done in the body. The eschatological tenets of the Samaritans were at first few and vague. Their doctrine of the resurrection and of the day of vengeance and recompense was a theology patterned after the model of Judaism, and first formulated for the sect by its greatest theologian, Marka (A.D. fourth century)

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