The period of 1508-1512 represented a key time in the career of Michelangelo as he set about constructing an array of frescos across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

This monumental task was to be completed with such immense creativity and technique that the artist himself was to become a household name from then on.

Certain specific elements of the overall piece are considered masterpieces in their own right, and to see them all together is truly extraordinary.

The popularity of Michelangelo's work is also shown in the fact that he was invited back some years later to complete The Last Judgement painting which sat on the altar wall, close to his previous work.

Michelangelo was an artist with huge confidence as well as technical ability which was necessary in order to take on such a challenging request, which had come from Pope Julius II.

The complex combinations of figures across the ceiling has helped many budding artists to understand the true skills of the artist in capturing the human body in a manner of different ways. His understanding of anatomy was impressive and necessary to produce such lifelike and believable portraits.

All of Michelangelo's work on the ceiling is now over 500 years old and so it has been very necessary to continuously protect the frescos and plaster work from all natural elements as well as enthuastic tourists who have been flocking to the Chapel for centuries.

There have also been restorative work in recent generations to remove darkening effects from natural elements that can never be entirely guarded against. The nature of this large artwork also means that it is harder to look after than a normal sized standard painting or sculpture.

The art within the Sistine Chapel, which also includes work by many other notable Italian artists, underlines the wealth and status of the Pope and Christianity itself at that time. Quite simply, it could attract and afford commissions with the finest artists of that time and Michelangelo was clearly around the top of that list.