A BBC Radio 4 play by Nigel Planer about some of the people involved in the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. On the Ceiling was originally broadcast as the Afternoon Play on 7 February 2009 and repeated on 11 December 2010.
High up on the wooden scaffolding tower of the Sistine Chapel, two fresco plasterers get on with the day's work preparing the ceiling for their boss, Michelangelo, who has not bothered to turn up for work again. As they do so, they bemoan the uselessness of the great master.
Pope Julius and Cardinal Alidosi visit the chapel to inspect the progress of their commission. They are never very impressed, and the Pope is more concerned about getting Michelangelo to do his funeral monument at a knock-down price.
On the Ceiling is not about great artists; it is about those people whose names don't go down in history: the ones who do the essential drudge work, their frustration at their lack of genius, and their pride in their own technical expertise. In this version of events, low elements combine to make high art.
Starring Phil Daniels as Lapo, Bryan Dick as Loti, Gary Waldhorn as Pope Julius and Roger Lloyd Pack as Cardinal Alidosi. Directed by Mary Peate. Download and start listening now!