Michelangelo’s Puzzle tells the dramatic story of a young boy’s undying dream to become a great fresco painter; and the fear he had to overcome from the beatings his father gave him for wanting to pursue that dream.
Three times Michelangelo runs away from his dream: the first when he’s a 14 year old apprentice painter for Domenico Ghirlandaio, then again at age 30 after he challenges Leonardo da Vinci to a battle of frescoes in the Great Hall of Florence, and the last time when he’s 31 after he’s offered the Sistine Chapel ceiling and responds by jumping on the back of a horse for a 160 mile race to escape Rome while being chased down by five of the pope’s soldiers.
Only when Michelangelo can run no more does he finally realize his dream: by painting his first ever fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling; an accomplishment so important he marks the occasion by leaving a secret message above the altar, a message that reveals the ceiling’s promising meaning.
Michelangelo’s Puzzle is an original story that will reveal for the first time the secret message Michelangelo left on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
New chapters will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the ceiling’s hidden meaning is revealed on November 1, 2012 – the 500th birthday of the ceiling’s dedication.
Every year millions of visitors come to the Vatican Museum in Rome to gaze up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and all of them wonder: What is it all supposed to mean?
The ceiling is teeming with images. At the top are nine panels, each showing a scene from the opening chapters of Genesis. Four more biblical episodes are lodged in each corner. The next layer of paintings curves along the slopes of the ceiling: twelve large prophets and sibyls sitting on white marble thrones and eight triangular spandrels, each containing an image. That’s just the ceiling—the lunettes above the windows on the upper walls are covered with paintings too. In all, the ceiling images contain 343 figures.
No one really knows for sure what the ceiling is supposed to mean because Michelangelo never revealed his plan to anyone. Most art historians believe the chapel’s fresco cycle is a collection of Old Testament stories painted in a manner to inspire awe…and that there is no larger significance than that.
But what if Michelangelo had a bigger plan? He spent more than four years painting that ceiling. Even when artists are trying not to, they reveal themselves through their work. What if, 500 years ago, Michelangelo left a clue about himself on that ceiling — something most people don’t notice because they aren’t sure what to look for? Something so personal that Michelangelo couldn’t bear to reveal it, so the only thing he could do was leave it behind?