MICHELANGELO Buonarroti
(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)

Last Judgment (detail)

1537-41
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

The picture shows Minos, the Judge of the Underworld. According to Vasari, the artist gave Minos the semblance of the Pope's Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, who had often complained to the Pope about the nudity of the painted figures. Biagio stated publicly "that it was a most dishonest act in such a respectable place to have painted so many naked figures immodestly revealing their shameful parts, that it was not a work for a papal chapel but for a bathhouse or house of ill-fame." Michelangelo took his revenge on Biagio by adding his portrait to the damned; in the guise of Minos, he looks on impassive and depraved, "with a huge serpent coiled around his legs, in the midst of a crowd of devils".




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