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AP World History Students Recreate the Sistine Chapel

Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

As an assessment of their understanding of the Renaissance, the Advanced Placement (AP) World History students at Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador created a new version of the Sistine Chapel´s ceiling.

First, the class was split into two groups. The students researched Michelangelo’s techniques, materials, themes and the history behind this masterpiece in order to understand what their task required. Then, to go along with historical accuracy, each group had to find an authority to “sponsor” their project, much like the Pope sponsored Michelangelo. Each person within the group had a special task: accountant, publicist, historian, master painter, and painter. Over the course of two weeks the groups worked on finding appropriate themes that would have been relevant during the Renaissance. One team picked more positive themes from the New Testament; the other picked similar motifs as the ones that Michelangelo used for his own masterpiece. They also publicized their project through a blog, by putting up posters and sending emails to teachers inviting them to come see the great unveiling.


Sistine Chapel

When the day finally came, both groups did an outstanding job presenting. There was Renaissance music, a diverse audience, delicious food and two great works of art: the new versions of the Sistine Chapel. The students worked hard to demonstrate historical accuracy, artistic relevance and a profound analysis of the motifs that they had used. Although they acknowledged that it was a difficult task, they all enjoyed themselves and revealed that more than 500 years later, the students at Colegio Menor can still be true Renaissance men and women!

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