It is argued that Copernicus' theory of the sun-centred universe is a key underlying theme in Michelangelo's fresco of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo's revolutionary design, depicting Christ as an Apollonian 'sun-god' positioned in the centre of a dramatic circular composition, seems relate to Copernicus's theory of the sun-centred universe - providing important evidence of papal support for Copernican heliocentricity as early as the 1530s.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/michelangelo-copernicus-and-the-sistine-chapel
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.
Dr Valerie Shrimplin
Dr Valerie Shrimplin was awarded her PhD for her research entitled 'Sun Symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment''. She has subsequently produced a number of academic publications focusing on the influence of astronomy and cosmology on art and architecture, particularly of the Byzantine, medieval and Renaissance periods.