Sistine Chapel Gets A Cooler Makeover

(Photo : The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel gets a high-tech makeover for a brighter and more sophisticated new look.

On Thursday, the Vatican revealed the state-of-the art illumination and air conditioning system for the chapel. The new design aims to better show off the chapel's sophisticated frescoes, and at the same time, protect them from the unavoidable dirt, breath and heat from the so many visitors passing through each day just to stare at the Michelangelo's masterpiece.

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The Vatican officials said that the existing 20 year-old air conditioning system was not able to maintain the humidity and temperature levels required to protect the frescoes.

The new air conditioning and air filtration system will adjust the air flow, humidity and temperature levels with the help of the 70 sensors mounted in the chapel walls.

It has two closed-circuit TV cameras that will count the number of people inside the chapel at any given time. The AC system maintains 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and keeps dust particles and air flow within parameters set by the Vatican's art experts.

Meanwhile, the illumination system has 7,000 LED lights that will bring out the deep blue background of Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment' and showcases the lives of Moses and Christ along the chapel walls.

The Vatican officials noticed the patina in 2010 and conducted an immediate investigation. The damage was only visible with close inspection and it revealed that there have been pockets of the frescoes covered with a powdery patina that resulted into cracked sugar icing-like.

'The concern was not just aesthetic but also the danger for the integrity of the paintings,' said Vittoria Ciminio, head of the Vatican Museums' conservation department, in a conference on Thursday.

Officials have no idea where the damage originated, but they stated that the powder composed of calcium carbonate and calcium bicarbonate deposits were formed from the increasing levels of carbon dioxide and humidity passing via the chapel's porous plaster walls.

Ulderico Santamaria, head of the museums' restoration laboratory, said that the project aims to prevent potential damage from the air pollution caused by nearly six million visitors.

Tags Sistine Chapel , Vatican , Sistine Chapel makeover , Michelangelo , Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment' , Last Judgment


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