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Michelangelo Exhibit Brings Art Closer to People

Photo by Grace Reyes

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition opened at the Irving Mall on Feb. 11 and will remain open to the public until March 27.

The exhibit allows guests an up close look at the Sistine Chapel’s paintings and offers audio tracks about how each photo was made.

“You could immerse yourself in the art and the history just by being in the space,” Marcia Vojtech, director of exhibit operations support for SEE Global Entertainment, said.

Martin Cialis, CEO of SEE Global Entertainment, went to the Sistine Chapel and did not like the experience, which sparked the idea for the exhibit.

“He licensed with Bridgeman Images, and he focused on Michelangelo’s art which is the ceiling and the Last Judgement behind the altar,” Vojtech said. “We have those digitally printed on fabric. It’s pretty much true to life size. You can get up close to it as opposed to being 55 feet away. You can see the amazing detail with which Michelangelo painted.”

Vojtech said they were able to layout the center ceiling in two quadrants.

“It kind of goes in order of the ceiling, [whereas in] some places we aren’t necessarily able to do that,” Vojtech said.

The Irving Mall’s features added to the exhibit.

“There was a fountain in the space that wasn’t working. We got [it] working and that adds some ambience to the space,” Vojtech said. “There are some architectural elements on the outside of the mall on our entryway. It looks like you’re actually walking into an Italian building.

“[Some of our exhibition areas] feel industrial, and this definitely does not have that feel,” Vojtech said. “It feels like you’re walking into an Italian villa with the stone tile floor, and it’s really cool.”

Guests who visit the exhibit see Michelangelo’s artwork closer to the ground.

“It was neat to be able to have each individual painting broken down and to see the details behind the intricate pieces that make up the whole art piece,” Emily Leat said.

Some visitors have been to the Sistine Chapel in person, and others have not.

“They look real; I’ve been there,” J’mel Burgos said. “They duplicated it, not only the size, but how they saw the fresco and the skin and everything, it was really good. Well done.”

“We have a big section of people who are grateful we’re bringing this out, because they would never been able to go to the Sistine Chapel on their own,” Vojtech said. “[The guests] are very happy and grateful they were able to see this great art, and we were able to bring that to them.”

People who visit the Sistine Chapel do not always have a good experience.

“You get funneled in, and there’s hundreds of people with you,” Gayna Herd said. “If you want to stay longer, you have to cycle around like lemmings or like rats in a cage.”

The exhibit allows guests to have a more profound experience with the artwork.

“This was an opportunity to get a real close-up view,” Herd said. “You get to take as much time as you want in front of whichever panel you want and be able to take pictures.”

“It’s those small, little details you never get to see, which is super fascinating and a privileged to see,” Rachelle Hebert said.

“Making art accessible opens up dialogue with people,” Vojtech said. “Art is something that tells a story, can send a message, and can spark a dialogue.”

Tickets to see the exhibit start at about $17 for adults, $13 for youth.