Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Recreated in New York City

Sistine Chapel ceiling | © Qypchak/WikiCommons
Sistine Chapel ceiling | © Qypchak/WikiCommons
Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor11 July 2017

This summer, Michelangelo’s magnum opus is presented in 34 detailed photographs at the Oculus in Lower Manhattan.

Last month, Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel was unveiled in over 30 arresting photographic reproductions at the Oculus, located in the Westfield World Trade Center.

It took the Florentine polymath nearly 15 years to finish his most celebrated project, located in Vatican City. Luckily for New Yorkers, examining Michelangelo’s work in detail is now but a breeze.

While Up Close can’t compare to the splendor of Michelangelo’s original frescoes, the exhibition provides a much closer look at some of history’s most important artworks.

“As any American visiting Rome quickly learns, Michelangelo’s frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling have been so murdered by mass tourism that going to look at them is an exhausting, not to mention occasionally frightening, experience,” The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik muses. “The guards shout, with very non-Italian urgency, for the visitors to be silent, and, after a fifteen-minute neck-craning exercise in mostly futile inspection, the crowd is forcibly moved on so that the next one can come in.”

The trade-off is that Up Close provides a rare opportunity to admire, in lucid, large-scale detail, the facial expressions, textures and movement that Michelangelo depicted so masterfully.

“With special expertise and care, the ceiling paintings from the Sistine Chapel have been reproduced using state-of-the-art technology,” the exhibition’s website explains. “In order for the observer to fully engage and comprehend the artwork, the paintings have been reproduced in their original sizes. The overwhelming impression for the observer will be the dimensions of the art, the closeness to the picture, and the modern style of the exhibit.”

Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel will remain on view at the Oculus, 33-69 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007 through July 23, 2017.

Mandatory tickets for the exhibition can be purchased here.

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