See the frescos of the Sistine Chapel up close in Christ Cathedral exhibit
While it attracts millions of visitors annually, many Southern California residents will likely never make the pilgrimage to Rome to experience Michelangelo’s magnificent frescoes painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
But they can more easily find their way to the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, where “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” will be on display through Jan.11.
The traveling exhibit features 34 of Michelangelo’s renowned Sistine Chapel frescoes, including the iconic “The Creation of Man,” in which God and Adam are reaching towards each other, their index fingers nearly touching.
The frescos have been digitally emblazoned on fabric panels to within centimeters of their actual size. They are displayed in the exhibit in roughly the same position as they are in the Sistine Chapel, either as walls or above as a ceiling.
“We wanted to bring a little bit of Rome to Orange County,” Christ Cathedral Communication Director Tracey Kincaid said. “A lot of people don’t get to go to Rome to the Sistine Chapel to see this kind of art work. Not only that, when you go, (the frescoes) are on the ceiling when you go there so you don’t get that up close interaction.”
The exhibit will coincide with the dedication of the renovated Christ Cathedral, formerly the Crystal Cathedral, which is scheduled for July 17.
“We wanted to bring something here that was an addition to the cathedral, but for the world, because we are a destination for people,” Kincaid said.
Among the recreated frescos, which are depictions from Book of Genesis, are: “The Creation of Eve,” “The Separation of Light From Darkness,” “The Drunkenness of Noah,” “The Temptation and Expulsion” and “The Great Flood.”
The exhibit, which has been displayed in museums, cathedrals and other venues throughout the United States, Europe and South America, is not intended to duplicate the Sistine Chapel, said Eric Leong, producer for Special Exhibitions, owners of the exhibit.
“We are just offering a different perspective and a different experience of seeing the art,” Leong said. “It’s not 60 feet away. You can take your time, study, and take photos if you want. You are not going to have a chance to see the art this close.
“We’re not saying it’s better or worse,” he said. “It’s just a different experience.”
The company does not promote the Sistine Chapel exhibit as a religious exhibit, Leong said. While the depictions are religious, the frescoes are to be appreciated as art.
Michelangelo completed the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling frescos on Nov. 1, 1512, culminating more than four years of work.
In 1536, Michelangelo was summoned by Pope Julius II to return to the chapel to redesign the alter wall.
The artist then spent five more years creating the “Last Judgement.”
Informational panels written in English and Spanish will be adjacent to every fresco and audio guides will be available for rent.
If you go
What: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition
Where: Christ Cathedral 13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove; in the Cultural Center
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Tickets: General admission is $18; seniors 62 and older/military/college students with ID are $12; children 7-18 years are $9