The Last Judgment

[Michelangelo.] Giulio Bonasone. Last Judgment. Roma: Ex. Typ. Ant. De. Salamanca, ca. 1560.

Engraving with hand coloring.

This print of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment, painted between 1536 and 1541 on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, depicts the moment before Christ utters the final judgment on humanity, as predicted in the Gospel of Matthew and interpreted by the artist.  Described in many theological texts as the end of time, the tumultuous scene shows the saints holding court around Christ while recovered souls ascend to heaven and the lost are plunged into eternal damnation.  

The original version of Michelangelo’s fresco, from which this print is abstracted, was the subject of great controversy for centuries after its completion due to its liberal use of nudity.  In response, various artists were commissioned to add drapery to the figures, thus imposing a level of modesty Michelangelo had not intended.

Link: Vatician Museums - The Last Judgment