By: Paulanne Simmons
In you can’t make it to the Vatican this summer or you’d like to see the Michelangelo’s panels in an air-conditioned environment with no crowds and no rush, head over to The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center, where Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel has been installed.
The exhibit is made up of 34 museum quality, near-life size reproductions displayed in an immersive environment that allows visitors to walk around the large panels, viewing them from various angles and distances.
Although The Last Judgement is the largest panel, dominating the exhibit from the rear, many of the other panels are also iconic: The Creation of Adam, The Downfall of Adam and Eve and Their Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, today the site of the Papal Conclave, where a new pope is selected, was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1518 at the commission of Pope Julius II. Michelangelo, who was not primarily a painter but a sculptor, was reluctant to take on the work. But it’s hard to resist a Pope, especially in the 16th century.
Many art historians believe Michelangelo got even with the Pope and other people he didn’t like with unflattering depictions in his work. If you want to learn more about the panels, an optional audio guide in four languages is available.
For many people, just seeing these magnificent works of art will be quite enough. In fact, whether or not you’re an art lover, this is a truly unique and exhilarating experience.
Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel runs daily June 23-July 23 in The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center, 186 Greenwich St., http://www.westfield.com/upclose. Photo Courtesy Getty Images