The Albany Capital Center is inviting people on a journey to Rome through “Michelangelo — A Different View.”
The exhibit, which opens Thursday, includes reproductions of the artist’s frescoes, the originals of which are featured in the Sistine Chapel. The fabric reproductions are true to life, some spanning more than a dozen feet. It also includes reproductions of works by Sandro Botticelli and Cosimo Rosselli to put Michelangelo’s works in historical context.
It’s one of the first events that the Center has hosted since the pandemic.
“This is an exhibit that has traveled all over the country and in the challenging times of last year, it was a little difficult to get things to and from so it took a little bit of extra time to get it to come to our lovely facility,” said Shannon Licygiewicz, the general manager of the Albany Capital Center.
Organized by Global Touring and Promotion, the exhibit brings viewers closer to Michelangelo’s frescoes, which are typically only seen from a nearly 70-foot distance at the Sistine Chapel.
“From this distance, though, it’s almost impossible to admire his legacy in all its splendor and in all its detail,” said organizer Glenn Blackman. “What makes this exhibit so unique is that all the images that you see here today were reproduced with a license from the Vatican Museums and were taken after the restoration that took place in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. As a result, the amount of detail, the depth of the colors and the clarity of the images are second to none.”
The artist initially painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512, depicting his interpretation of the history of creation. As to be expected, over time the frescoes became covered in a layer of dust and soot so that only vague outlines of frescoes could be seen. Finally, in the 1980s and 1990s, they were restored and a Japanese team came in to film the revived works. From that film, photographer Roland Ursprung created the reproductions of the frescoes seen in “A Different View.”
Most of Michelangelo’s works featured in the exhibit depict biblical stories, like the fall of Adam and Eve and the great flood. Spread across nearly the entire length of the floor are scenes from the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, like the beloved and oft-referenced “The Creation of Adam.” Next to each close-up is a title and guide to where it resides in the chapel.
Elsewhere, fabric panels are strung up, featuring images of the prophet Ezechiel and Zacherias, who is the father of John the Baptist.
While it doesn’t mimic the experience of walking through the Sistine Chapel, the colors are vivid and the magnified perspective calls attention to details that otherwise may not have been noticed.
“As you walk through this exhibit, we encourage you to take your time and study the brushstrokes of one of the most iconic painters in history and to allow these paintings to truly soak in and most importantly to enjoy these frescoes from a different view,” Blackman said.
The exhibit will be up through Aug. 23. Tickets are $8-17 with group discounts and family packs available. While there are no guided tours, there is an audio tour available. For more information visit albanycapitalcenter.com.