Home Historical art Sistine Chapel Exhibit Comes to Indianapolis at Circle Center Mall

Sistine Chapel Exhibit Comes to Indianapolis at Circle Center Mall


At Circle Center Mall, do as the Romans do: admire the frescoes painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

You no longer have to be in Vatican City to see the historic works of art, thanks to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The exhibition, which opened on Friday, which brings together the frescoes and personalizes them. For the past seven years, the exhibit has traveled across North America and finally lands in Indianapolis.

Accompanied by lush orchestral music, a red carpet weaves the path between the 34 frescoes and the white pillars which, while part of the architecture of the exhibition’s predecessor, Carson’s, add to the feeling of navigating a museum of immaculate art.

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Images of the iconic frescoes – images painted directly onto plaster – were taken with high-resolution photography and placed on canvas by a technique called GeckoTek.

Business development manager Sylvia Noland told IndyStar that the artwork appears exactly as Michelangelo painted it.

“When you’re up close you see the cracks, you can see the brush strokes, you see everything Michelangelo did,” Noland said. “That’s exactly his job.”

The exhibit came about after SEE Global Entertainment CEO Martin Biallas visited the Sistine Chapel to stand in line for two hours and only spent a few minutes inside.

Biallas decided there should be a way for people to see Michelangelo’s work up close, in addition to learning some of the history behind each piece.

The story continues under the gallery.

“This exhibit gives visitors a chance to experience Rome’s most iconic treasures in a way that would never have been possible,” Biallas said in a written statement.

There are 34 near life-size pieces of Michelangelo’s work on display – 33 of the frescoes he produced inside the chapel over the course of five years, and ‘The Last Judgment’, a work by sprawling 400-character art that, in the Vatican City Chapel, covers the entire altar wall.

At each fresco there is a sign indicating where that particular painting is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Noland said this exhibit is special because one wouldn’t get to see the intricacies of every fresco in Vatican City, where they look like postage stamps from every available vantage point.

And, unlike Vatican City, visitors can take as many photos as they want, as long as they refrain from using flash.

“Art is an amazing thing,” Noland said. “It’s one of mankind’s most acclaimed artistic achievements…and to see it up close is awesome.”

Guests view a traveling exhibition titled Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, The Exhibition on Friday, July 8, 2022, inside the former Carson's Dept.  Circle City Mall store in Indianapolis.

How it works

The Sistine Chapel exhibit is a self-guided tour through 10,000 square feet of artwork.

In addition to the signs, Noland said there is an audio guide that tells the listener exactly who is in each painting, why Michelangelo painted them, and what their historical significance is.

The guide to each painting is available on an app, which can be downloaded at the entrance, but a QR code on each sign also allows for individual scanning.

The audio guide lasts an hour and a half in its entirety.

Plus, at the entrance, there’s a 20-minute Michelangelo cartoon video, created by Nathan Heck, that provides fun facts about the years-long process of creating the frescoes.

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Why Circle Center Mall?

Noland, who selects locations for the exhibit in each state, said she was very excited to bring a piece of Vatican City to Circle Center Mall.

Originally, the exhibition was actually supposed to open earlier this year, but had to be delayed after some ceiling drops were recognized that were not taken into account during the site inspection.

There are two art units for the exhibition – one large and one small – and although the large unit was originally brought to the mall, not all of the pieces could have fit in the space allowed by the height from the ceiling.

Noland said they weren’t just going to bring some of the murals, the smaller unit had to finish its run in another city before it could be brought to Indianapolis.

“The Sistine Chapel is an inspiring and unforgettable experience and bringing a little piece of it to downtown Indianapolis is something we are truly proud of,” Circle Center retail marketing manager Sarah Grannan said in a statement. written.

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Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: the exhibition — If you go there

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: the exhibition runs from July 8 to August 18. 28 in the former Carson store in the Circle Center Mall. Entrance to the exhibit is located at 1 W. Washington St. and is accessible from outside the mall.

The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets start at $19.20 for adults and $13.40 for children. Discounts for seniors, students and veterans and family packages are available.

For more information, visit chapelsistine.com/exhibits/indianapolis.

You can contact Pulliam Fellow Griffin Wiles at [email protected] or on Twitter at @griffinwiles.