About The Sistine Secrets

Five hundred years ago Michelangelo began work on a painting that became one of the most famous pieces of art in the world—the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Every year millions of people come to see Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling, which is the largest fresco painting on earth in the holiest of Christianity’s chapels; yet there is not one single Christian image in this vast, magnificent artwork.

The Sistine Secrets tells the fascinating story of how Michelangelo embedded messages of brotherhood, tolerance, and freethinking in his painting to encourage “fellow travelers” to challenge the repressive Roman Catholic Church of his time.

“Driven by the truths he had come to recognize during his years of study in private nontraditional schooling in Florence, truths rooted in his involvement with Judaic texts as well as Kabbalistic training that conflicted with approved Christian doctrine, Michelangelo needed to find a way to let viewers discern what he truly believed. He could not allow the Church to forever silence his soul. And what the Church would not permit him to communicate openly, he ingeniously found a way to convey to those diligent enough to learn his secret language.”   – from the Preface

Blech and Doliner reveal what Michelangelo meant in the angelic representations that brilliantly mocked his papal patron, how he managed to sneak unorthodox heresies into his ostensibly pious portrayals, and how he was able to fulfill his lifelong ambition to bridge the wisdom of science with the strictures of faith. The Sistine Secrets unearths secrets that have remained hidden in plain sight for centuries.

The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican by Benjamin Blech and Roy Doliner (Apr 29, 2008)

The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican by Rabbi Benjamin Blech & Roy Doliner is an international best-seller that is stirring considerable interest as well as creating heated controversy and discussion round the world.

Appearing in April, coinciding with the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s starting work on the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel,

  • This groundbreaking book has already been translated into 15 languages, including Japanese
  • Is selling briskly in 25 countries
  • Had a huge first printing of 100,000 copies by HarperOne
  • Is presently in negotiation with 3 major film companies for movie and TV rights
  • Enjoyed national TV coverage on 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America and in its fourth week after publication reached the coveted New York Times Extended Best Seller List.
  • Is the subject of a feature story in the Wall Street Journal this weekend ( November 14)
  • The US News & World Report is highlighting it in their Special Issue this November on Secrets of the Bible.

Among the highlights, the authors convincingly demonstrate that Michelangelo incorporated many teachings of Jewish Midrash and Kabbalah into the Sistine Chapel – daring ideas unknown to its four million annual visitors. And unlike the DaVinci Code, this book is not fiction but fact.

Editorial Reviews

 

Enrico Bruschini, Official Art Historian for the U.S. Embassy in Rome
“Just as the work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel changed forever the world of art, so will this book change forever the way to view and, above all, to understand the work of Michelangelo!”

Jonathan Harr, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Lost Painting and A Civil Action
“This book of astounding revelations is built on careful scholarship, lucid exposition, and it is, above all, compelling reading.”

Los Angeles Times
“…(a) fascinating study of the Sistine Chapel. […] Like the best art historians, the authors give us a fresh context for the times, never hesitating to make contemporary parallels. […]This is a stimulating exploration that makes familiar masterpieces seem strange and new.”

Description

Five hundred years ago Michelangelo began work on a painting that became one of the most famous pieces of art in the world—the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Every year millions of people come to see Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling, which is the largest fresco painting on earth in the holiest of Christianity’s chapels; yet there is not one single Christian image in this vast, magnificent artwork.

The Sistine Secrets tells the fascinating story of how Michelangelo embedded messages of brotherhood, tolerance, and freethinking in his painting to encourage “fellow travelers” to challenge the repressive Roman Catholic Church of his time.

“Driven by the truths he had come to recognize during his years of study in private nontraditional schooling in Florence, truths rooted in his involvement with Judaic texts as well as Kabbalistic training that conflicted with approved Christian doctrine, Michelangelo needed to find a way to let viewers discern what he truly believed. He could not allow the Church to forever silence his soul. And what the Church would not permit him to communicate openly, he ingeniously found a way to convey to those diligent enough to learn his secret language.”—from the Preface

 

From the Preface

Every year more than four million visitors from all over the world throng to the Vatican Museums, the most-visited museum complex on earth. They come for one overriding reason – to see the Sistine Chapel, the holiest chapel in the Christian world. Viewers – Christians, Jews, Moslems, atheists, art lovers and the merely curious – are moved not only to marvel at its aesthetic beauty but to be inspired by its history and its spiritual teachings. The major attraction, without a doubt, is the incomparable vista of frescoes on its ceiling and its altar wall, the work of Michelangelo Buonarroti, universally acknowledged as one of mankind’s greatest artists.

But how many of the millions of awestruck spectators who enter the Sistine know that the Pope’s own chapel, built in the heart of the Vatican, is a full size copy of the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s ancient Temple in Jerusalem?….

And how amazed would they be to discover that Michelangelo himself embedded secret messages inside the Chapel?….

What if these messages contained ideas that struck at the heart of the Papacy?…

What if they also contained a lost mystical message of universal love, dangerously contrary to the Church of Michelangelo’s day, but true to the original teachings of the Bible as well as to much of contemporary liberal Christian thought?…

What if this message went unheeded and then was lost for five centuries?

What if it were to be rediscovered and deciphered today?

And what if this were not a piece of speculative fiction, but completely, amazingly, true?

This is the startling and provocative thesis that The Sistine Secrets will for the first time reveal – and convincingly prove. It will demonstrate how Michelangelo incorporated into his religious masterpiece a stunning number of hidden messages to the Church of his time, messages that resonate to this day with their daring appeal for reconciliation between reason and faith, between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and between all those who share a sincere quest for true faith and service of G-d.