Today in 1512, the Sistine Chapel opened to the Roman public for the first time. The chapel was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti, considered the greatest Italian Renaissance artist.
At age 13, Michelangelo was placed under the tutelage of Lorenzo de' Medici, ruler of the Florentines. Michelangelo came to be considered a master sculptor, and after his works Pieta and David, was summoned to the Vatican in 1508 to begin work painting the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.
The chapel's centerpiece is a nine-panel work depicting biblical history. Of chief interest among the panels is The Creation of Adam, featuring the iconic image of God and Adam reaching their index fingers towards one another. The ceiling was completed in 1512.
Michelangelo returned to Florence, where he lived as an architect until 1534, returning to Rome once more. On the year of his return, he painted The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, considered another masterpiece.
Michelangelo lived the rest of his years in Rome. He died in 1564, 88 years old. He was, during his life, considered the greatest artist in Europe. He is still regarded as one of history's most accomplished visual artists.