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Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is coming to a shopping mall near you

J-P Mauro - published on 02/11/22

Chapel Sistine is bringing the famed frescoes of the Sistine Chapel to a mall near you, with up-close views of Michelangelo's masterpieces.

Some of the most recognizable paintings in human history can be found in the Sistine Chapel. Prior to the pandemic the Vatican site received 5 million visitors per year. Now, for those who can’t make it to Rome, the Sistine Chapel is coming to a city near you, as a popular art exhibit has pulled the frescoes off the ceiling and taken them on the road. 

The exhibit

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” is a unique art viewing experience that allows an eye-level view of the representations of these great works art. While the exhibits look identical to the original paintings, Catholic Herald notes, they are actually high-resolution photos printed on special fabric that makes display and dismantling quick and easy procedures. 

While the printed photos are easy to transport, they allow viewers quite a bit more freedom than they might enjoy at the Vatican. For example, visitors to “The Exhibition” are allowed to take as many photos as they like, afeat unheard of in the Sistine Chapel. The local nature of the exhibits further allows visitors to take more time viewing the works. 

Tours

Since its launch, in 2015, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” has traveled all over the world. Popular demand for a local show has become so high that the company, Chapel Sistine, now has 10 sets of the printed photos. These have been printed in various sizes in order to be able to fit any sized showroom and to allow the exhibit to hold multiple shows at once. Currently they have an exhibit in a shopping mall at Tyson’s Corner Center, Virginia, where they have taken over a former furniture shop to present a set sized between 75% and 80% of the original.

A tweet from the exhibit’s account gives a glimpse of the show’s arrangement. The ceiling frescoes are still displayed from above, but nowhere near the 44 ft. heights of the Sistine Chapel. In order to spread the show out a little more, however, some are set up on the periphery, illuminated from behind with lights. Each piece is accompanied by curated cards in English and Spanish to bring historical context to the works. 

Michelangelo’s masterpieces

Painted at a time when literacy was uncommon, Michelangelo’s 34 frescoes portray some of the most famous moments of the Bible. Included among these is “The Creation of Adam,” which is part of the nine central panels that depict passages from Genesis. According to Artnet, the display is so detailed that viewers can pick out individual brushstrokes.

The exhibit also has an image of “The Last Judgment,” which is not on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but rather the wall behind the altar. This megalithic 45-foot by 40-foot fresco took Michelangelo 25 years to complete. The piece features over 300 people, each of whom was painstakingly detailed with accurate physical form. 

Find a tour

Chapel Sistine has already announced the 2022 tour lineup, with 16 exhibits scheduled in the U.S. alone. These include: Washington D.C., West Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, Vancouver, Dayton, Dallas, Calgary, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Green Bay and more. There are also locations in Europe, Oceania, Asia, and South America. 

Find the city that’s closest to you at Chapel Sistine. 

Tags:
ArtCatholicHistoryVatican
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