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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Sistine Chapel exhibit comes to Davis

The interactive art exhibit opened at the University Mall


By SOFIA BIREN — city@theaggie.org


The Sistine Chapel began construction 1473 and was rebuilt over an older structure called the Cappella Magna. However, the restoration of the building itself did not begin until 1477. According to the Vatican website, the Sistine Chapel is named after Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere, who was Pope between 1471 and 1484 and commissioned the construction of the Chapel. 

The Sistine Chapel is renowned for its elaborate artwork, and as a home to some of the greatest Renaissance art. Michaelangelo is the most well-known artist to contribute to the renovation of the Chapel, however other artists contributed just as much. Some of these artists include Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli. 

On April 8, a Sistine Chapel Exhibition opened at the University Mall. The exhibit solely focuses on the artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which was painted by Michaelangelo. Special Entertainment Events, Inc. is the company responsible for the exhibit itself. In order for the exhibit to be displayed, however, a venue must offer to host the exhibit. 

Erin Akamine and Berenice Ramirez-Zurita, both students at UC Santa Cruz, happened to come across the exhibit while in Davis for Picnic Day on April 23. They arrived in Davis on Friday afternoon and decided to attend the exhibit because it was in such an ordinary shopping center. 

“We originally came to Davis for Picnic Day,” Ramirez-Zurita said. “But while we were waiting for our high school friend to meet up with us, we decided to go to the exhibit. Considering it was in a shopping center I didn’t expect much of it, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.”

The pieces that Michaelangelo painted in the original Sistine Chapel were scenes from the book of Genesis that outlined the story of creation and the fall of man vis-à-vis the beginning of original sin

Erin Akamine, a second-year English and Linguistics double major at UC Santa Cruz said that she really enjoyed the exhibit, but that it won’t ever compare to the grandeur of the real Sistine Chapel. She is currently taking Italian as part of her linguistics coursework, and will be studying abroad in Italy this summer. She says that she hopes to visit the Vatican again. 

“The summer before my junior year of high school I went on a trip to Italy,” Akamine said. “I remember looking at the ceiling and wondering how he painted it. I was staring at it for so long that my neck started to hurt, and found out later on the tour that Michaelangelo had neck problems later in life because he was painting the ceiling for four years.”

The website for the exhibition writes that, “The exhibition illustrates the restoration and allows us to view the monumental paintings from a distance of only 4 meters, as opposed to the usual 20 meters. ‘Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’ thus brings an entirely new perspective to this work by Michelangelo and acts as a form of art in its own right.”

Akamine says that although the grandeur was gone in the exhibit, it was nice to see Michaelangelo’s artwork up close and focus on the details. 

Ramirez-Zurita offered her perspective not as someone who visited the original Sistine Chapel, but as a Roman Catholic who feels a religious connection to the Vatican, and thus the work of Michaelangelo as seen in the exhibit. 

“I loved seeing the scenes depicted in a way that I have only imagined,” Ramirez-Zurita said. “I find it amazing that Micaelangelo was able to bring to life a God that is so infinite and depict Him as someone we could imagine and connect with on a more visual level.” 

The Sistine Chapel is where the Papal conclave is held to elect the next pope. Pope John Paul II said that the Sistine Chapel is an integral symbol of the papacy. 

“The Sistine Chapel is the place that, for each Pope, holds the memory of a special say in his life,” Paul II said. “Precisely here, in this sacred space, the Cardinals gather, awaiting the manifestation of the will of Christ with regard to the person of the Successor of St. Peter.”


Written by: Sofia Biren — city@theaggie.org



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