A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Elizabeth Lev’s experience studying and teaching art has led her to believe that when we encounter something beautiful, we are made vulnerable and opened to the truth.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most iconic buildings on earth — but there’s a lot you probably don’t know about it. In this tour-de-force talk, art historian Elizabeth Lev guides us across the famous building’s ceiling and Michelangelo’s vital depiction of traditional stories, showing how the painter reached beyond the religious iconography of the time to chart new artistic waters. Five hundred years after the artist painted it, says Lev, the Sistine Chapel forces us to look around as if it were a mirror and ask, “Who am I, and what role do I play in this great theater of life?”
Art historian Elizabeth Lev became captivated by Rome while completing her graduate studies. She writes and lectures on Renaissance art in the Eternal City, but is most at home in the Vatican Museums, founded in the 16th century to house the trove of art amassed by centuries of Popes. She has spent 15 years studying the vast collection, which contain not only Christian-themed works but art from virtually every other culture in the world. She consults with the Vatican Museums and wrote the film Vatican Treasures. She also wrote A Body for Glory, examining how the papal collection of Greco-Roman nudes grew into the Sistine Chapel.