Although Jews and Protestants number the Book of Judith, which includes the story of Judith and Holofernes, among their apocrypha, Catholics consider it canonical. Thus it would have been part of Michelangelo’s Bible.


Sibyls were women in the ancient world with the gift of prophecy. The church fathers recognized several of these women as prophets heralding the coming of Jesus.


For a description and plan of the ceiling and its parts, see Suzanne F. Singer, “Understanding the Sistine Chapel and Its Paintings,” BR 04:04.


For a full description of these debates, see Jane Dillenberger and John Dillenberger, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling—To Clean or Not to Clean,” BR 04:04.



Giorgio Vasari in Lives of the Artists, vol. 1 (London: Penguin Books, 1987).


This is actually the second book on the restoration produced by the Nippon Television Network. The first in the series, The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo Rediscovered (London: Muller, Blond & White, 1986), dealt with the historical setting in Michelangelo’s Rome, the history of the earlier decoration in the Sistine Chapel, the theology behind Michelangelo’s ceiling, his later Last Judgment fresco (on the end wall above the Sistine Chapel altar) and the painting of the lunettes, the semicircular scenes that make up the lowest section of the ceiling decoration. Only the lunettes had been cleaned and restored when this volume went to press in 1986. The current issue was published in Italian six years later (the English edition appeared in 1994), after the entire ceiling had been cleaned and while the cleaning of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment fresco was under way.


The photographs are copyrighted by the Nippon Television Network Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.


Kenneth Clark, The Horizon Book of the Renaissance (New York: American Heritage, 1985), p. 111.


Pierluigi De Vecchi, “The Syntax of Form and Posture from the Ceiling to the Last Judgment,” in The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration, ed. De Vecchi (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994), p.224.


From Ascanio Condivi, The Life of Michelangelo, quoted in De Vecchi, “Last Judgment,” p. 234.


David Jeffery, “A Renaissance for Michelangelo,” The National Geographic (December 1989).


James Beck, Art Restoration: The Culture, the Business and the Scandal (London: J. Murray, 1993).


A brief but entertaining approach to this “single most important art event of the century” can be found in Waldemar Januszczak’s book Sayonara Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Restored and Repackaged (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1990).