Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC

Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC

View the Sistine Chapel ceiling pictures at the ground level at the World Trade Center’s Oculus


Up Close: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC
Sistine Chapel, Vatican / photo by Patrick Landy (FSU Guy)

Michelangelo’s frescos on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City are conveniently brought down to earth by the very modern means of digital photography and are displayed in the Oculus of NYC World Trade Center Transportation Hub.  The visitors have the convenience of enlarged images to see all the details of historical paintings, the spacious and well-lit hall housing the freestanding plinths with good labels to follow the Creation story from the Book of Genesis and the modern architectural design of the Hub by a Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava all in one place. No hurrying up by the guards and neck craning necessary.

Sistine Chapel in Vatican was built in 1477-1480 by Pope Sixtus IV for whom the chapel is named. The Chapel is used for special ceremonies of the close circle of the Pope and is a place were the Papal Conclave of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope. Interestingly the dimensions of the Chapel are the same as the Temple of Solomon as described in the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel, the first temple built by the Hebrews in 832 BCE under King Solomon, and destructed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Chapel from 1508 to 1512 on a commission by Pope Julius II. Because at the time Michelangelo was preoccupied with sculptures and was reluctant to commit to such an enormous undertaking, Pope Julius granted him full freedom in selecting the scenes and figures to paint thus convincing him to take on the project. The resulting frescos are considered to be the triumph of the artistic expression in Western civilization.  The ceiling is populated with more than 300 figures starting from the Christ ancestors including Adam and Eve, the scenes from the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood all the way to Christ followers, prophets and sibyls.Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City Westfield Oculus

Michelangelo’s mastery brings us the “faces of our time: anxiety masked by domesticity, women at work at household duties, men staring out blankly at an opaque fate” in the words of A.Gopnik in The New Yorker review of this exhibition at the Oculus.  Now that we can comfortably see those faces and their expressions, the connection to the history and its meaning can be better understood and appreciated. One can easily take it one step further with an assistance of the virtual reality like Oculus Rift and other VR gadgets

After staying in NYC for one month, the exhibition will travel around the US. Check all the locations and dates here.


To book your tickets click here.

Venue: World Trade Center Transportation Hub, NYC          Dates: June 23 – July 23, 2017

Venue: Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ       Dates: September 1 – October 15, 2017

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