While the Sistine Chapel is over 6,000 miles away, there’s an opportunity to marvel at some of the breathtaking aspects of it in downtown Phoenix until February 14. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibit is being hosted at an event space called The Croft Downtown. Visitors can see 34 state-of-the-art reproductions of the frescoes found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
The individual panels measure 9’ x 18’ each, and are replicas of the world-renowned scene that was painted by famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo over 500 years ago, from 1508-1512. The 10,000 square-foot exhibit, which recounts events from the Old and New Testament, includes two of Michelangelo’s most famous paintings: The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment.
In the courtyard outside the exhibit, visitors can glean fascinating facts and secrets about Michelangelo, thanks to a small theater that provides educational videos that are both whimsical and entertaining. They can even find out which painting Michelangelo inserted himself into.
The ambiance of the exhibit is enhanced by ethereal church-style music that continually plays in the background.
According to Angela Karp, co-founder of The Croft, the exhibit has attracted an eclectic group of visitors, from priests to homeschoolers. “We are bringing Rome to Phoenix,” she said.
According to Karp, the enormously popular exhibition has been presented all over the United States, as well as in Austria, Berlin, Bogota, China, Poland, Shanghai and Vienna.
The event adheres to COVID-19 safety protocols using managed entry and exit times and timed-ticketing that allows only 50 people in the venue at once. Masks are mandatory. Visitors are free to meander through the exhibit, reading the explanations posted at each piece, or use an audio device that goes into more depth about each painting.
“This is a chance to take your time and enjoy the artwork,” said Karp. “Visitors are not shuffled through, as they would be at the Sistine Chapel. Plus, everyone is free to take photos.”
Karp said that an advantage to their exhibit is that The Croft’s ceilings are a lot lower than the 65-foot-high ones in the Sistine Chapel. “I am always fascinated by walking into the exhibit. I feel that each fresco is so interesting and incredible,” she said. “I love talking to the people attending; they are just overwhelmed. They love absorbing all the fascinating information.”
The exhibit is on display at The Croft until February 14 at The Croft Downtown at 22 Buchanan St., Phoenix. General admission is $18, and children five and under are free.