The painting is a frameless rectangular fresco on a wall with a sky-like blue background. It is a condensed dynamic composition of masculine human figures, each in different position. Some of those figures are dressed up and some of them are nude. There seem to be a lack in the sense of gravity because the figures are either flying or standing on clouds. In the center there are two figures, a man and a woman. The man is standing in a partially seated position, his right hand is raised up and he is looking to his left side, his left hand is pointing to a wound in his chest and he is partially covered in a grey piece of fabric. Under his raised arm sets a woman looking away from him to her right side. She is dressed in a pink and blue garment. A golden light-like background behind them that identifies them as the center of the scene depicted in the fresco.
A group of figures are standing in an arc-like arrangement around the center. They are sitting, standing or flying. Each of those figures has a serious expression and their gazes are all focused on the male center figure. The arc starts with a seated figure that is holding an object that looks like a ladder, followed by a group of standing figures one of them is wearing animal skin and another one is holding a big cross. Following the arch to the opposite side, a standing old-bearded man is holding two keys and it ends with another seated figure that is holding a knife in his right hand and a skin in his left hand. In this arc, all dressed up figures are wearing yellow, orange or green garments.
The Fresco depicts the second coming of Christ on the day of the last judgment. All human beings are awakened from their death to face the Judge, Christ. On this day, people are divided into two categories, the chosen ones that are rising to paradise and the damned ones that are descending to hell. The frescoes in the Sistine Chapel depicts the Life of Christ on the right, the Life of Moses on the left, and the ceiling, done by Michelangelo, which depicts the creation of the universe, Adam and Eve and the Story of Noah (Hibbard, 1974). As for the altar wall, the topic of the last judgment completes the stories depicted in the chapel by addressing the end of the history.
According to Partridge, L. W., Colalucci, G., & Mancinelli, F. (1997), the topic of the Last Judgment was chosen for religious, historical and political reasons. It was seen as a reflection of the Italian movement for reforming the church. Because of the overwhelming feeling of pessimism and guilt that Pope Clement VI experienced after the Sack of Rome in 1572 and the attacks of Protestants and Catholic reformers on the pope and the church, the apocalyptic mood of the subject was very appropriate. Hall, M. (2002) suggests that Michelangelo’s altar commission was supposed to illustrate the catastrophic reign of Clement VI in Rome, as it was seen as a place of decadence and sins.
The last judgment...