Art Like Michelangelo: Looking Up! Activity

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Updated on Jul 24, 2014

For a period of four years the artist Michelangelo worked on painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. In order to paint the ceiling he had to lay on his back up on scaffolding. This project allows your child to be like the master painter from the Renaissance—no scaffolding required!

What You Need:

  • Butcher paper
  • Pre-drawn wings
  • Tape
  • Table
  • Oil pastels

What You Do:

  1. Share pictures of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling with your child and discuss how Michelangelo had to lay on his back in order to paint the ceiling over a period of four years!
  2. Michelangelo painted many angels on the ceiling. Ask your child to describe what an angel looks like. (Make sure she includes wings and a halo.)
  3. Help your child by drawing large wing shapes on the butcher paper using oil pastels. This will help give her an idea of the size she'll draw her angel. Tape the start of the drawing under the table. Make sure there is light under the table so the drawing can be seen.
  4. Help situate your little one under the table and make sure her arms can easily reach the drawing.
  5. Encourage her to draw her angel using the wings that you already created. She can add a face, clothing and a halo.
  6. If she's not too worn out from reaching up to draw, she can add in a background and show where her angel lives.
  7. Carefully help your child remove the tape from her masterpiece from the table and hang it on the ceiling of her room, just like Michelangelo would!

Fun Fact: After Michelangelo finished painting the Sistine Chapel in 1512, he switched art forms to sculpture and didn't make another painting until 1536!

Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.

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