The Vatican issued a unique three-volume book with photographs of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
VATICAN. The last time the Sistine Chapel’s treasures were photographed for future generations at a time when digital photography had just appeared, and words like «pixel» were used only by computer botanists and NASA scientists. Now, after several decades of development of technologies in the field of artistic photography, image processing and printing, it became possible to implement a large-scale project, which is intended not only for art lovers, but also for future restorers. Work on the project was conducted for five years, during this time, more than 270,000 digital frames were produced, which demonstrate the frescoes of Michelangelo and other masters with stunning detail.
«In the future, this will allow us to keep every centimeter of the chapel in the state it was in 2017,» said Antonio Paolucci, the former head of the Vatican Museums and the world-famous expert on the Sistine Chapel.
The ceiling frescoes of Michelangelo are famous all over the world, one of the most famous - the scene in which God extends a hand to give life to Adam. Michelangelo finished the ceiling in 1512, and the image of the «Last Judgment» behind the altar - between 1535 and 1541 years. The last time all the frescos of the Sistine Chapel were photographed between 1980 and 1994, during a large-scale restoration, the first in many centuries. New photos will be included in the unique three-volume book, with a volume of 870 pages. The edition is issued in a limited edition of 1,999 copies and will be sold to libraries and private collectors for about 12,000 euros.
Photographing the chapel was conducted for 65 nights, from seven in the evening until two in the morning. Only a few people knew about this project. After all the masterpieces of the chapel, including the mosaic floor and the frescoes of artists of the XV century, for many years languishing in the shadow of Michelangelo, were imprinted, the photos were «stitched» into the resulting images using a computer program.
More than 220 pages of books contain images on a scale of 1: 1 , including the «Creation of Adam», and the face of Jesus during the Last Judgment. Each volume weighs about 9 kg, the size of the turn is 60 by 130 cm.
«We used special software, post-production to get the depth, intensity, warmth and hue of color with an accuracy of 99.9 percent,» said Giorgio Armaroli, head of Scripta Maneant, a publisher who published a three-volume edition. «Future restorers will be able to use them as their standards,» he added.
The photographs clearly show all brush strokes and even the borders between the parts of the picture known as «days» (as the murals are painted on wet plaster, the artists each time prepared a field sufficient for completion within one day). For the shooting, special telescopic equipment was used. All information, amounting to 30 terabytes, is now stored on the Vatican server.
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