|With between 10,000 to 30,000 tourists each day, Vatican may have to limit visitors to Sistine Chapel|
In this April 16, 2005 file photo, tables and chairs line the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in preparation for the conclave. Five centuries after Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes were inaugurated at the Sistine Chapel, at least 10,000 people visit the site each day, raising concerns about temperature, dust and humidity affecting the famed art. But a Vatican Museums official said in the Vatican newspaper Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 that there are no plans to try to limit tourists' access. AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File.
By: Jean-Louis de la Vaissaire
VATICAN CITY (AFP).- As the Sistine Chapel celebrates its 500th anniversary, the Vatican said Wednesday it may have to limit the huge numbers of visitors because pollution is damaging Michelangelo's frescoes, one of the artistic wonders of the world.
The scenes, including the moment in which God reaches out and gives life to Adam with the touch of his finger, are being damaged by the breath, sweat and heat of the 10,000 to 30,000 tourists who walk through the chapel every day.
The Vatican had an air-conditioning system fitted during restorations in the chapel in the 1990s, but critics have warned that it is no longer sufficient to deal with the amount of dust and dirt being dragged in by today's visitors.
Museums director Antonio Paolucci said a specialist company has been asked to design a new air-purifying system -- but that if a solution is not found by next year the Vatican will be forced to begin reducing the number of tourists.
Michelangelo spent much of four years on his back painting the chapel's ceiling frescoes, which Paolucci said most tourists could not bear to miss on a tour of Rome, describing them as a "fatal attraction, an object of desire".
The chapel was commissioned by Pope Julius II, who said an evening vespers service on October 31, 1512, to inaugurate the room, and current Pope Benedict XVI will say his own vespers there later on Wednesday to mark the 500th anniversary.
The chapel -- which is used by cardinals when they meet to elect a new pope -- is one of the most visited sites in the world and guards struggle to enforce an atmosphere of prayer among the hordes of photograph-snapping tourists.
Tourists and pilgrims often queue for hours for a chance to see first hand the 2,500 square metres (27,000 square feet) of colourful frescoes which Michelangelo began in 1508 after designing scaffolding to allow him to reach the curved ceiling.
The Vatican had previously ruled out the idea of timed visits because the chapel is a place of prayer, but the issue flared up again in September, when one of Italy's leading literary critics publicly denounced the situation.
In a protest letter to leading newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pietro Citati said the chapel was an "unimaginable disaster" where tourists behave like "drunken herds" and "any form of contemplation was impossible... in the universal confusion."
"The church needs money for its various activities, but these monstrous conditions are impossible," said Citati.
Paolucci retorted that "the days when only Russian grand dukes and English lords... could gain access to the great masterpieces are definitely over," but on Wednesday admitted the Vatican may not have any choice in the long term.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
November 1, 2012
Cologne's The Art.Fair grows into a respected forum of top-class international galleries
Marilyn Monroe photos spark buzz ahead of Polish auction at Dom Aukcyjny Desa Unicum
LACMA and the Academy present first Stanley Kubrick retrospective in the United States
Works by Diego Rivera and Fernando Botero lead Christie's Latin American Sale
Christie's to sell 230 artworks from the legendary London restaurants Langan's Brasserie and Odin's
Dalí self-portrait created for 'intimate friend' Federico Garcia Lorca smashes pre-sale estimate
Winston Churchill at his darkest hour...favourite painting on loan to National Portrait Gallery
With between 10,000 to 30,000 tourists each day, Vatican may have to limit visitors to Sistine Chapel
Julien's Auctions announces the highly anticipated Rock 'n' roll auction of the year
China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
October's end brings strong results at Bonhams Furniture & Decorative Arts Auctions
Christie's announces Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Autumn 2012 Auctions on November 28
Linda Connor presents photographs from house made iconic through the paintings of Andrew Wyeth
Japan collector puts Dali, Miro, Warhol on sale
Solo exhibtion of photography by David Chancellor opens at Jack Bell Gallery in London
World War II gadgets manual from MI9 worthy of Bond uncovered at Bonhams
The Gallery at Norwich University College of the Arts opens "Colin Self: One Thousand Sketches"
Corning Museum of Glass unveils 2012 Rakow Commission by Danish artist Steffen Dam
1959 lefty Les Paul 'burst brings $194,500 in Heritage's $1.24+ million Vintage Guitar event
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Exhibition presents French Impressionist's most important and provocative paintings
2.- Sotheby's auction achieves the second-highest total for any sale ever held in London
3.- High Museum of Art premieres major United States exhibition of Alex Katz landscapes
4.- China's Great Wall is disappearing due to adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities
5.- Van Gogh to Pollock: Exhibition at Milwaukee Art Museum presents art world rebels
6.- Confederate flag furor spreads to stained glass windows at Washington National Cathedral
7.- Christie's London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale achieves $112,908,380
8.- First comprehensive show on the history, politics and culture of homosexuality_ies opens in Berlin
9.- Sotheby's to re-launch Irish Art sales in London; Sale includes important nude by William Orpen
10.- Centre Pompidou devotes a major exhibition to Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum's work
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|