|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Wednesday, January 17, 2018
|The Vatican's Sistine Chapel dazzles thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system|
A journalist photographs the Sistine Chapel with its new lighting during a press visit at the Vatican on October 29, 2014. The Vatican presented the LED lighting in the Sistine Chapel to illuminate the ceiling frescos. It also installed a new air-conditioning system and it's planning to put a limit on the number of visitors allowed in. This room where popes have been elected since the mid-15th century is visited by 6 million tourists a year to marvel at Michelangelos ceiling and his depiction of the Last Judgment on the altar wall. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE / MUSEI VATICANI.
By: Ella Ide
VATICAN CITY (AFP).- High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.
Angels, sybils and prophets in blues, pinks and golds, once lost in the gloom, are brought into sharp relief by 7,000 LED lamps designed specifically for the prized chapel, where red-hatted cardinals have elected new popes since the 15th century.
A state of the art ventilation system has also been installed to protect the frescoes from humidity, enabling up to 2,000 people at a time to safely visit one of the world's top tourist attractions, which draws over six million people a year.
The entire project cost some three million euros ($3.77 million) -- with 1.9 million euros spent on the lighting alone. The venture was funded in part by European Union funds, with the rest donated to the Vatican in expertise, technology and man hours by the various companies taking part.
"The LEDs have a colour spectrum specifically designed with the pigmentation of the frescos in mind to ensure the light faithfully reflects the original colours, as the artists intended," said Marco Frascarolo, who works for Fabertechnica, one of the companies behind the new system.
"As each LED can be tuned to a different colour, we spent long nights in the chapel with the Vatican Museum curators, trying out different mixes of red, blues, whites... trying to get it just right," he said during a private tour for journalists of the chapel late Wednesday.
While eight colour samples are usually taken in an environment to create a LED system, 276 areas of the Renaissance paintings were analysed, he said.
The sunlight which had streamed through the windows for centuries was shut out in the 1980s, when conservators realised ultraviolet radiation was damaging the masterpieces, causing the Last Judgement and other frescoes which cover the chapel's ceiling and walls to fade.
The lighting system put in place at the time was criticised for casting an unnatural glow and throwing some of the lesser known works by artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino into shadow.
A whole new light
"The LEDs create a much better viewing experience because they throw light on aspects of the frescoes which were overlooked before," Frascarolo said.
The lights were vigorously tested to make sure they wouldn't damage the works, with pigments of the frescoes subjected to the LEDs in a laboratory at a high intensity which showed what effect the new system would have over 50 years.
Protecting the artworks was also the driving factor behind the new ventilation system, installed by US firm Carrier, which uses three cameras to monitor the number of people in the chapel and regulate the temperature and humidity.
"The previous system was only capable of regulating the air for up to 700 people. With this system the room can hold a maximum of 2,000 people without damaging the artworks," said Michel Grabon, director of Carrier's AdvanTE3C Solutions Center.
"We know the amount of CO2 and humidity released by each visitor and can make adjustments accordingly, lowering the temperature or raising it if necessary to compensate for cold spells," he said, adding that he can monitor the chapel from his home computer or mobile phone.
Both systems are also highly energy efficient, meaning the Vatican is expected to cut output for ventilation by around 60 percent and by up to 90 percent for the lights -- shaving a vast amount off its bills.
Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, said the chapel "contains the most extraordinary works ever conceived by the human mind", and the new installations aimed to honour the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo's death by preserving and re-illuminating his creations.
The Vatican Museums said they were also exploring a project for next year whereby visitors craning their necks to see the famous depiction of Adam and God reaching towards each other to touch fingers could be given disposable "intelligent glasses" like Google Glass for a whole new 3D-view.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse
October 31, 2014
The Vatican's Sistine Chapel dazzles thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system
Action Comics #1 may bring $350,000+ at 2014 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction
Lost Fergusson painting, discovered in French attic, to feature in Christie's sale
Munnings painting found in shed to be sold at Bonhams East Anglian Picture Sale
A Jewel of the Silver Age: Valentin Serov's Portrait of Maria Zetlin to be offered at Christie's
Exhibition of recent work by William Kentridge on view at Marian Goodman Gallery
Paris' Museum of Modern Art opens exhibition of the work of Sonia Delaunay
Legends of appropriation art to be featured at Bonhams' Post-War & Contemporary Auction
Sotheby's Paris announces its second sale of Contemporary Art in 2014 taking place on December 3 & 4
Glass legend Lino Tagliapietra to attend Schantz Galleries' SOFA Chicago Art Fair booth
Exhibition of large-scale paintings by Julian Stanczak opens at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Herakleidon Museum celebrates 10th anniversary with the opening of a new space
Christie's London announces Sale of Important Russian Art on 24 November 2014
Daniel Crooks awarded the $100,000 Ian Potter Moving Image Commission
Huntington's front portion of new Education and Visitor Center to open on Jan. 14, 2015
Life returns to London's iconic Battersea Power Station
'14-18: The War in Pictures, Bruges at War' on view at the Stadshallen
Anatomy of a Phenomenon: Peter Stichbury's third exhibition with Tracy Williams Ltd. opens in New York
Major exhibition examining the Italian Renaissance through arts patronage by rival religious orders opens
Howard Greenberg Gallery opens concurrent exhibitions of photographs by Bruce and Anna Mia Davidson
Exhibition of new work by Brian Rutenberg opens at Forum Gallery
Exhibition of works by Alexander Kaletski opens at Mary Boone Gallery
A. Lange & Sohne Platinum Tourbillon wristwatch could tick to $250,000+ in Heritage Timepiece Auction
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- National Air and Space Museum releases "VR Hangar" app
2.- Inrap discovers a mikveh in the medieval Jewish quarter of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux
3.- Wellcome Collection acquires 17th century portrait of internationally renowned and hirsute Barbara van Beck
4.- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation names Ghislain d'Humieres to oversee its core operations
5.- LACMA exhibits for the first time two photographic series by Richard Prince
6.- Jade and gold burial suit, finest to survive ancient China, featured in Nelson-Atkins exhibition
7.- Peru recovers 79 pre-Hispanic textiles from the Museum of Gothenburg in Sweden
8.- Vincent van Gogh's 'Watermill at Kollen' on display at Het Noordbrabants Museum
9.- Saint Louis Art Museum will acquire 'Portrait of Charlotte Cram' by John Singer Sargent
10.- British Museum opens the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia
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|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.