Art/Design, News & Events

The Sistine Chapel exhibition is currently touring the US

Get an up-close look at the classic work.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Sep 3, 2021

The Sistine Chapel (Experience) is coming to NYC, allowing you to get up close and personal with Michelangelo’s famous work—well, more like images of it. High-resolution, nearly full-scale copies of Michelangelo’s iconic frescoes are bringing the famed Sistine Chapel to communities around the United States.


“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” has been touring the world since 2015, and was previously on display in New York in 2017 beneath Santiago Calatrava’s soaring ribbed ceiling of the Oculus at the World Trade Center, “Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel” is the title of the exhibition. Between 1508 and 1512, the Renaissance artist painted the chapel ceiling, as well as The Last Judgment on the back wall in 1535.


The show’s latest edition, which has debuted in Chicago, San Antonio, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and will shortly return to New York, appears to have been changed to profit on the art’s newfound popularity. Unlike the popular Van Gogh exhibition, which just began touring, the Sistine Chapel frescoes have been replicated using the Giclée printing process on nylon-based mesh, comparable to a movie theater screen. Apparently, this specific kind of fabric was supposedly chosen to best replicate the originals’ painted plaster surface.


The exhibition of the Sistine Chapel is organized by Special Entertainment Events (SEE), which is known for touring exhibitions featuring King Tut, the Titanic, and Star Trek. The 34 Michelangelo frescoes are based on licensed, high-definition pictures of the site taken by Austrian photographer Erich Lessing, with Bridgeman Images as a production partner.


In principle, this Sistine Chapel experience has a few advantages over the original, such as the fact that viewers will be able to see the artwork at eye level rather than from a great distance. Viewers will be able to discover microscopic details that would otherwise go unnoticed, as well as witness replicas of Michelangelo’s individual brushstrokes, thanks to the up-close vantage point. Furthermore, the actual church has a well-known no-photograph policy, which does not fare well for anyone wanting to document this for social media. In this iteration, you get “a life-sized, up-close, never-before-seen perspective of the genius masterpieces,” according to the exhibition website’s description of the upcoming show.


The show premiered in Los Angeles in late August, and opens this month in New York and San Francisco. There will also be screenings in Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. The location of the New York exhibition has yet to be announced, but visits will typically last from an hour to 90 minutes. You can learn more on


SEE is also bringing a Banksy exhibition to NYC and LA. Learn more from


In case you missed it, the world’s first meme museum recently opened in Hong Kong.


Photo via SEE Global Entertainment