How would the Sistine Chapel have been rated under Arts Council England's Quality Metrics framework? Phil Ward envisages the conversation.

Whilst there has been some disquiet amongst arts organisations about Arts Council England's plans to introduce a national quantitative system for evaluating the quality of the art it funds, they needn't worry. Such systems have long been used by commissioners of artistic works. A transcript of a discussion between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo has recently come to light that confirms that such 'quality metrics' were already in place when the artist was working on the Sistine Chapel. We reprint it here to put our readers' minds at rest.

A large, ornately decorated room in the Vatican. A man in an exuberant headdress is peering closely at one of the painted walls and tapping it gently with a toffee hammer and then waiting for an echo. A man in a smock approaches him.

Man in Smock (looking alarmed): Your Holiness! Your Divine Majesty! What...what...I mean, is there anything I can help you with?
Pope Julius II (for it is he): Ah! Michelangelo. Glad you could come. I've just been taking some quantitative readings of your work.
Michelangelo: Quantitative readings? But, Your Holiness, do you not like what you see? Does it not move you? Do you not trust your eyes?... Keep reading on Research Fundermentals

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