The Sistine Chapel in Rome is a historical artifact, an artistic monument, and a house of worship—at once recognizable and mystifying. This seminar explores fifteenth-century origins, decoration by some of the most accomplished artists of the Italian renaissance, and continuing use (especially the election of popes). Topics will include: art and patronage, rhetoric and ritual, controversial restoration, and the Sistine Chapel in popular culture—with an emphasis on the close analysis of the major frescoes. The seminar will develop the academic skills needed for the analysis and discussion of texts, paintings, and ritual events. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.