The masterful artist’s iconic ceiling frescoes have been reproduced for this traveling display, offering audiences a unique, “face-to-face” experience with the masterpieces. In fact, there are more than 30 artfully displayed, museum-quality, near life-size reproductions, including world-renowned pieces such as “The Creation of Adam” and “The Last Judgment.”
“These (reproductions) were taken on high-resolution photography and placed onto canvas,” said Sylvia Noland, business development manager at Los Angeles-based SEE Global Entertainment, producer of the exhibit. “These are the exact images. And that’s why we need 10,000 square feet of space because that’s how large the ceiling at the Vatican is. We also (provide) audio guides for each of the 34 frescoes. Michelangelo originally created 33 and came back 20 years later to do ‘The Last Judgment,’ the big one featuring 400 characters.”
Examining art unrushed
Noland has fond memories of visiting the Vatican a few years ago but recalls the difficulty of not being able to fully reflect at the time. After all, the Sistine Chapel is a major tourist attraction, which hindered embracing the majesty of the moment.
“You wait hours in line, you only have 15 to 20 minutes when you get inside, you can’t take any photos, and then you look up (at the ceiling), which is spectacular, but I wanted to know more,” she said. “I’m excited about this exhibit because everyone will get a chance to understand who is up on the ceiling and why they were chosen, what their significance in history is.”
“The exhibition is like a sanctuary, you’re transformed into a completely different world,” said Martin Biallas, CEO of SEE Global Entertainment, in a release. “When I visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome, there were long lines, and we were rushed through. This exhibit at Mall at Fairfield Commons allows everyone an opportunity to see the amazing art at their pace and up-close, at an affordable price, and enjoy an inspiring and unforgettable experience.”
History of the masterpieces
Most people are familiar with Michelangelo’s legendary fresco “The Creation of Man,” in which the two outstretched index fingers of God and Adam nearly touch. This piece is among many recounting events from the Old and New Testaments, from the Genesis story of creation to the Last Judgment. The exhibition’s reproductions offer a new perspective based on the restoration work which took place in the 1980s and 1990s, replacing think layers of dust and soot that eroded the original frescoes after almost 500 years.
“Michelangelo never thought of himself as a painter – he thought of himself as a sculptor,” Noland said. “The Pope, who was quite powerful, made him do this project. When you look at these (images) up-close, you sit and think, ‘How can somebody not think they’re an artist?’ But what’s great about this exhibit is that you see every brushstroke, every detail.”
A fun, theatrical element also aids in discovering more about the artist’s imprint.
“A comedian and an animated Michaelangelo character banter with each other and it’s very cute,” she said. “(This experience) tells all the fun facts of Michaelangelo’s process over the course of five years, painting on his back and directly onto the plaster.”
Embracing a trend
The international exhibition has had sold-out openings across America in such cities as Minneapolis, Phoenix, Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta and Nashville. Noland acknowledges America’s current curiosity with touring exhibits honoring legendary artists, particularly Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. As the country embraces a resurgence of the greats, she hopes audiences are eager to bask in the wonder of the Italian genius.
“It’s nice to see Michaelangelo have his day and have people come and see what his craft was all about,” she said. “Not everybody gets to go to Rome. And right now, in these times, especially with COVID, most people aren’t traveling. So, why not let your children have an experience with fine art? This is a history lesson and it’s something for everybody. It’s a cool way of bringing technology into art. I’m impressed the public is embracing art. And we need more of the arts.”
HOW TO GO
What: “Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition”
When: Jan. 14- Feb. 13
Where: Upper level of former Elder-Beerman at the Mall at Fairfield Commons, 2727 Fairfield Commons, Beavercreek.
Cost: $19 for adults; $13.30 for youth; Discounts are available for seniors, students, military and family bundles.
Tickets: Available Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For tickets or more info: Visit sistinechapelexhibit.com/dayton