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Exhibition brings Michelangelo's famous paintings to downtown Phoenix

Michelangelo Exhibition - handout.jpg
Posted at 9:35 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 11:35:43-05

PHOENIX — The historic Sistine Chapel may be more than 6,000 miles away from Phoenix, but Arizonans will have a chance to see replicas of Michelangelo's famous frescoes up-close.

"Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition" is a traveling exhibition that features 34 life-sized photographic replicas of Michelangelo's paintings that adorn the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel, including " The Creation of Adam" and "The Last Judgement."

Fresco refers to a type of painting where watercolor is painted on wet plaster.

The walk-through exhibition will be in Phoenix for nearly three months. It opens Friday, Nov. 20 at The Croft, an indoor events venue near First and Buchanan streets in downtown Phoenix's Warehouse District. It is scheduled to close on Feb. 14, 2021.

"It’s almost like, you, yourself are walking 10 feet beneath the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel," said Martin Biallis, CEO of Special Entertainment Events, a Los Angeles-based company that produces traveling exhibitions, in an interview with ABC15.

As people walk through, photographs of the paintings will be above and to the side of them. Personal photography is allowed.

There is also an audio tour that can be downloaded with additional facts about the frescoes, and a small theater area that will show education videos about Michelangelo, Biallis said.

Biallis said he visited Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel as a tourist years ago and did not enjoy the experience as much as he'd hoped he would. That sparked the idea for the Michelangelo show.

"The long lines, being crammed into a 10,000-square-foot space with 2,000 people at the same time, screaming and yelling. You can’t take any photos," he said. "If you even think about it, there are guards that will take your phone."

"You see all the paintings (Michelangelo) did, but they’re 60 feet high so they all look like a stamp," he said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are required, and attendance will be limited to 100 people per hour and tickets will be sold in hour-long blocks. It takes about 60-90 minutes to go through the exhibition, Biallis said.

Admission is $12-$18 per person and can be bought online at https://chapelsistine.com. Discounts are available for military, seniors, and students with IDs.

The exhibition will be open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition
The Croft, 22 E Buchanan St, Phoenix, AZ 85004