Vatican Offers High-tech Photo Album of Sistine Chapel

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March 11, 2017

The Sistine Chapel now exists in digital high definition.

Vatican Museums have completed a five-year project of digital photography of the famed chapel, the ceiling of which was designed and painted (mostly) by Michelangelo. A team of photographers employing telescopic lenses and, in some cases 33-foot-high portable scaffolding, took 270,000 digital shots of not only the famous ceiling but also the mosaic floor and the walls.

The high-tech, high-definition recovery, coupled with advanced post-production photo software, has resulted in images so detailed that, experts say, viewers can see the individual brush strokes from the paint brushes used to create the iconic images.

The purpose of the photo project was nominally to assist in future restorations. The latest restoration took place between 1980 and 1994.

Vatican Museums will offer a three-volume printed set of the photographs, totalling 870 pages. The target market for the limited run is libraries and collectors. The expected cost is $12,700.

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