Sistine chapel photographed in unprecedented detail

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 26, 2017 - 11:15
  • Updated : Feb 26, 2017 - 11:15

The famous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, whose ceiling was painted by Michelangelo, can now be examined in minute detail thanks to an unprecedented photographic venture, the Vatican Museums have said.

By combining innovative digital technology and special light-emitting diode LED lamps that aimed to reproduce daylight, photographers were able to make images measuring 43 centimeters tall by 1.2 meters wide.

Journalists look at the Sistine Chapel with its new lighting during a press visit to the Vatican, Oct. 29, 2014. (AFP)
The work includes 220 life-sized images from the chapel, including elements of “The Last Judgement” as well as frescoes painted on the walls by Perugino and Botticelli.

The three works, of which 1,999 copies have been made and will be sent to the world’s most important libraries, all give a perfect rendition of the colors used by the Renaissance masters, said Italian art publisher Scripta Maneant.

“The project took place over five years,” said the publisher’s head of graphics Gianni Grandi as he unveiled the images inside the chapel late Friday.

“The photographs let us understand Michelangelo’s work, for example his use of striation or pointillism,” he said, referring to painting techniques.

Those whose budget is unlikely to stretch to the 12,000 euros ($12,700) needed to buy the images can still visit the chapel itself, which averages some 20,000 visitors per day.

The frescoes were given a new lease of life in 2014 when they were illuminated with a revolutionary new lighting system. (AFP)