Saturday, 1 February 2014

sistine candles or in the room, the women come and go, talking of michelangelo

Mental Floss has an interesting article that reveals the original reasons behind the ban on photography and the taking of videos in the Sistine Chapel, adorned with breath-taking the breath-taking frescoes of Michelangelo in this private chapel of the Apostolic Palace and ante-chamber to the vast Vatican museum compound, was not in fact to protect the art from the crackle of light from billions of flash-bulbs but had more to do with licensing agreements that the Holy See granted to one of the biggest financial supporters of the restoration project. Started in 1980 and lasting nearly two decades, the prospect of reviving the walls and ceiling, un-re-touched since their completion in 1512 and stained with incense and candle smoke, was a very expensive undertaking and a big entertainment consortium from Japan helped extensively with the bill.
In exchange, the group had exclusive rights to reproducing high-quality images of the interior and documented each stage of the restoration work. Their rights have since expired but the ban—more or less, still remains in effect. It is really a sight to behold in person, as Goethe said after visiting in 1797, “Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving.” No photographs can do it justice and if you must take mementos, please tread lightly.