Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Art History & Archaeology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



For his greatest patron, Pope Paul III Farnese (1534-49), Michelangelo painted the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, two monumental frescoes in the Pauline Chapel, and managed the design and reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica. The pope and artist maintained a harmonious and remarkably productive association for the entirety of Paul's fifteen-year pontificate. The artist's projects at the Vatican defined the most important sacred spaces of Renaissance Rome and helped construct the identity of the papacy at the inception of the Counter-Reformation. At the same time, these are the finest examples of Michelangelo's mature painting and architecture. Following Giorgio Vasari's example though, art historians have paid remarkably little attention to Michelangelo's interactions with his most significant patron. My dissertation examines the relationship between these two men, the significance of these works as an ensemble, and how the projects advanced the multi-faceted agendas of both the artist and his powerful patron.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William E Wallace

Committee Members

Marissa A Bass, Daniel Bornstein, Nate Jones, Angela Miller, William E Wallace


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