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[Facsimiles of Original Drawings of the Frescoes by Michael Angelo on the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel] (Engraved ... by J. Linnell .)

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Michelangelo's Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel


(London: Engraved & Published by J. Linnell, Feb. 1. 1833 (-1835).)

Physical Description

42 pl.; 279×410 mm.


D. Linnell, Blake, Palmer, Linnell and Co.: the life of John Linnell (1994); A.T. Story, The Life Of John Linnell (2 v., 1892), esp. Vol. I. p.221-3 and Vol. II. p.244. A study of reproductions of the Sistine Chapel frescoes by other engravers is A. Moltedo, La Sistina Riprodotta (1991).

Summary Note

The work has no title-page or title-plate. Our title is that given to the work by A.T. Story in his The Life Of John Linnell (2 v., 1892). The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography refers to it as Michelangelo's Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Publication-dates are carried by several plates: Feb. 1. 1833; Feb. 1833; Feb. 1834; 1835; Jan 1835; Feb 1835; but Story writes that the work was published in six parts, the first being issued on 1 April 1833 and the last in February 1837.

The plates show the frescoes painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace in Rome. These depict nine episodes in the narrative of the Biblical book of Genesis - from the creation of the world to the life of Noah - supported by images of prophets and sybils who point to the salvation-history that would culminate in the advent of Christ. One plate shows an overview of the ceiling; the rest show details. They are mezzotints of drawings in Samuel Rogers's collection, which Linnell believed to be Michelangelo's original working drawings. (Story mentions also a separate set of six copies by Linnell of old line engravings of six figures of the Sistine ceiling, made in 1828.)


Presented by the author in 1837 (acknowledged RA Council Minutes, VIII, 304).

Copy Note

The verso of the front loose endpaper is inscribed in pencil, 'Opus quod in Cappella Palatii Appostolici Michael Angelus Bona-Rota P. fecit GJ' [i.e. George Jones, R.A., librarian of the Royal Academy 1834-40].

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, green cloth-covered boards; green morocco spine-label lettered 'M. Angelo's Frescoes', spine lettered 'R.A.' and '1834'.

Name as Subject


Bible, Genesis
Christian art and symbolism
Frescoes - Paintings, Italian - Church decoration and ornament - Ceilings - Chapels - Churches - Palaces - Italy - Rome - Vatican City - Vatican Palace (Vatican City) - Cappella Sistina (Vatican Palace, Vatican City) - History - 16th century - Renaissance
Pictorial works - Mezzotints - Great Britain - 19th century


John Linnell, draughtsman, engraver, publisher, previous owner, donor
Michelangelo Buonarroti, source artist