Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Sistine Chapel exhibit puts a modern spin on Michaelangelo’s most iconic work

Isabella Tecchio
A view of Chelsea’s new Sistine Chapel exhibit, which gives viewers a chance to get a closer look at Michaelangelo’s timeless work.

Forget the long lines at the Sistine Chapel — a new exhibit in Chelsea is bringing people up close to Michaelangelo’s most iconic work, without the flight to Italy.

Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition in Chelsea displays large-scale high-resolution photos of the Sistine Chapel. Nadene Freeman, the manager of the exhibit, led a fascinating tour through the new project, which opened for the first time last week.

Each fresco, which is a combination of wet plaster and paint, done throughout the Sistine Chapel Exhibit, was showcased at the event. A photographer took a picture of each of the 33 frescos on the ceiling of the Chapel, done by Michaelangelo from 1508 to 1512 while The Last Judgment was painted around 25 years later. Seeing images of Michelangelo’s paintings up close is captivating and hard to take your eyes off of.

The photos are placed on a flexible fabric stretched over a light box, so the integrity of each picture is maintained. Each small detail can be seen; every muscle and vein Michaelangelo painted. It is eye-opening to be able to see each little detail painted. 

Freeman explained that when visiting the Sistine Chapel, it is difficult to get tickets, and even if you do get in, the frescoes are not as visible as you would think. Long lines and a crowded space make it hard to take your time and view each fresco. 

However, this exhibition makes it possible to see each detail up close, with some people staying for three or more hours, sitting on a bench placed in front of the pieces. Some students and other young adults sat and sketched a painting for long periods of time, taking advantage of the unique closeness this exhibit provides.. 

According to the exhibit, Michelangelo was the first to paint God as a human being, usually only depicted in paintings as a light, a hand, etc. Obsessed with the human body, each painting shows this fascination, with movement in every body and face clearly depicting emotion. A portion of the frescos represent prophets and sibyls, men and women who represent the coming of Christ in the Bible. Displayed, we see the Cumaean, Libyan, Erythraean, Delphic and Persian sibyl. Michelangelo is shown to give more respect to women by painting in the sibyls, and not just the prophets.

Each painting is shown as its real size as they are in the Sistine Chapel. In the exhibit, the story of the Creation of Adam and Eve hung in order on the ceiling. As you walk down, each breathtaking, lit-up image is shown from above. Viewers here are seen gazing up, standing with their necks arched for long periods of time, admiring.  

Aiming to enhance viewer experiences, the exhibit uses an app “Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition.”  This allows you to scan a QR code and watch a brief video explaining each fresco, giving an auditory experience while providing background on the painting.

The exhibit is held in a large open area which demonstrates a peaceful environment, so as to give a calm experience while admiring each painting.

Freeman emphasizes how amazing the exhibit is for all ages. Families, couples or a trip alone is perfect. This exhibit is captivating, and while there is no confirmed closing date, it is guessed the exhibit will close around Jan. 1, according to Freeman the exhibition manager.

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    MariaNov 17, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    So glad we went. Beautiful!