Vatican Approves $2.4 Million Replica of Sistine Chapel in Mexico City

The reproduction is based on 2.6 million photos.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums, Rome. Courtesy of Titimaster, via Wikimedia Commons.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums, Rome. Courtesy of Titimaster, via Wikimedia Commons.

North Americans who can’t make the trip to Rome now have an opportunity to visit Michelangelo‘s renowned Sistine Chapel in Mexico City. A full-size replica of the 15th century church, best known for the iconic ceiling fresco painstakingly painted by the Renaissance great between 1508 and 1512, has opened in Plaza de la República (Republic Square).

In additional to Michelangelo’s contributions, which include The Creation of Adam ceiling panel and the Last Judgment on the altar wall, the reproduction also features works by Renaissance painters such as Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Luca Signorelli, and others.

The project came together through the combined efforts of Mexican architects, engineers, scenographers, and photographers. Creating the reproduction cost 45 million pesos (about $2.4 million), and was paid for by private partners. (Admission is free, although the institution accepts donations.)

Copies of the original paintings by Michelangelo are assembled on the eve of the inauguration of a full-size reproduction of the Sistine Chapel at the esplanade of the monument to the Mexican Revolution in Mexico City, on June 07, 2016. Courtesy Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images.

Copies of the original paintings by Michelangelo are assembled on the eve of the inauguration of a full-size reproduction of the Sistine Chapel at the esplanade of the monument to the Mexican Revolution in Mexico City, on June 07, 2016. Courtesy Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images.

“In total, 2.6 million images were used to create the replica,” Antonio Berumen, who spearheaded the project, told Agence France Presse. He was inspired to take on the monumental task by a visit to the original, where he spotted a elderly Mexican woman who had been moved to tears by the sight.

Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, oversaw the photographic reproduction work, which was carried out over 170 nights while the chapel was closed. According to Berumen, it was the first time the chapel has been documented for reproduction purposes.

Partial view of copies of the original paintings by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel as reproduced by Miguel Macias in the church of Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro in Mexico City. Courtesy of Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.

Partial view of copies of the original paintings by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel as reproduced by Miguel Macias in the church of Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro in Mexico City. Courtesy of Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.

The project, however, is not the only Sistine Chapel in town. Where Berumen has used photos printed on canvas to bring the iconic space to his native country, artist Miguel Macias has been handpainting his own recreation of the chapel’s ceiling for Mexico City’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help since 1999.

Mexico’s newest Sistine Chapel is built on an elaborate metal scaffolding that takes nearly a month to erect. The project will travel throughout the country over the next three years, and is expected, says Berumen, to attract some 52 million visitors.

The replica will be on view in Mexico City on the Plaza de la República, at Monumento a la Revolución, June 6–30, 2016, before embarking on a three-year tour.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics