Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition Opens in Orange County

I just finished reading Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders and it was a good reminder of just how many wonderful things this planet houses…and how little time we have to see it all. I spend much of my free time exploring and what I’ve seen is a drop in the bucket compared to all that I still want to see. Especially abroad – I just haven’t had the opportunity to get out of the country to explore. So when I was invited to view Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition I was quite curious as I studied the Sistine Chapel extensively in college but have yet to visit it in person.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition is currently housed on the campus of Christ Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) in Garden Grove. The campus known for its iconic glass church and Crean Tower has been an Orange County landmark since the 1960’s. It’s really a modernist gem housing structures designed by such noted architects as Richard Neutra Philip Johnson.

The exhibition is housed on the second floor of the Cathedral Cultural Center, a large contemporary building in the center of campus.

The exhibition features a recreation of Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel – namely the ceiling and The Last Judgement. Recreated on large panels the works are true to size and accompanied by storyboards offering information on their subject matter.

My sister has been to the Sistine Chapel and she noted it was quite crowded and noisy and there was not much opportunity to get up close to the artwork. The exhibition aims to remedy that by bringing the artwork close to the viewer allowing them to see the detail and skill that goes into each work.

To think that one man created all of this is simply astounding. Not only are the pieces beautiful and astonishingly realistic but there are so many of them. I couldn’t complete one in my entire lifetime and Michelangelo completed all of them in 4 years!

I hope to one day see the Sistine Chapel in person but this was a good introduction to the master’s work. I was able to take my time admiring the pieces in a quiet environment and was able to study them thoroughly.

if you’re so inclined an audio tour is available and the exhibition is accompanied by a fun documentary detailing Michelangelo’s work on the chapel. I’m not usually one for videos but I thoroughly enjoyed this PBS production that offered further insight to the artwork on display. The exhibition continues through January 11, 2020 and tickets are available here.

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