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The Sistine Chapel comes to Nebraska (and beyond) in new immersive exhibit

J-P Mauro - published on 10/21/21

The full-scale panels offer a new perspective on Michelangelo's frescoes.

A touring art exhibit has pulled Michelangelo’s masterpieces right off the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and is bringing them to a city near you. Titled “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” the art show uses high-resolution prints of the paintings on full-scale panels to offer a one-of-a-kind viewing experience. 

The art of the Sistine Chapel, located in the Apostolic Palace in VaticanCity, has been a source of inspiration for Christians and artists since it was completed in 1512. In the centuries since, countless viewers have strained their necks in appreciation of the massive frescoes 44 feet above their heads. Now, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” is bringing the art to ground level for a closer look than ever before. 

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. 

The exhibit

Catholic News Service notes several aspects that make the exhibit more viewer-friendly than even a visit to the Vatican. Not least of these is the unique perspective of viewing the art at  eye-level, but viewers will also be afforded more time to examine the art. Tickets are limited and scheduled, partially due to the world pandemic, in order to maintain a steady flow of foot-traffic. This allows viewers to explore the art at their own pace, while avoiding crowds. 

Another feature that stands apart from the Sistine Chapel is that visitors are allowed to photograph the pieces. As anyone who has visited the Sistine Chapel can attest, photography of the original 16th-century frescoes is strictly forbidden. In addition, curated signs are available in English and Spanish to bring context to each piece. 

According to the exhibit’s website, it is designed to address pandemic protocols. The large space allows for adequate social distancing and the hands-free nature of the exhibit helps prevent exposure. They note that the exhibit will follow local COVID-19 regulation in each city they visit. Wearing a mask is included among local restrictions and may vary with location. 

The tour is booked with locations in North America and Europe through 2022. Next year’s displays are planned at locations in New York, Omaha, Mexico City, San Francisco, San Diego, London, West Palm Beach, and Nashville. 

Visit Chapel Sistine for details on how to secure your tickets. 

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