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St. Louis Convention Center Will Host Reproductions Of Michelangelo’s Iconic Frescoes

The exhibition features 34 full-sized reproductions of the Sistine Chapel's famed frescoes.
The exhibition features 34 full-sized reproductions of the Sistine Chapel's famed frescoes.

An exhibition featuring reproductions of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings will open at the America’s Center Convention Complex next week.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” boasts 34 reproductions of the Renaissance master’s iconic frescoes. Among them are some of the most revered images in Western art, including “The Creation of Adam” and “The Last Judgment.”

The show has toured internationally but has been idle for about eight months because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was created by Las Vegas-based SEE Global Entertainment and is presented locally by Explore St. Louis, the city’s tourism commission.

Visitors will have the chance to take an up-close look at the works, take photographs and linger as long as they like — all experiences that are not possible on official tours of the Sistine Chapel.

“A lot of people do not realize how large, how big these are,” Martin Ballas, CEO of SEE Global Entertainment, said of the artworks. “When you go to the Sistine Chapel you see them but they’re all the way up, 60, 80 feet, and they look like a stamp.”

He and representatives from Explore St. Louis spoke at a Wednesday morning press conference.

The reproductions are based on photographs of the artworks. Not every bit of Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel will be represented — an announcement explains that some “bordering elements” and other “framing devices” are omitted. The show will occupy more than 27,000 square feet of the convention center’s second-floor ballroom. It will be a boost for the America’s Center Convention Complex, which has lost business in recent months because of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The Michelangelo exhibition provides “the chance to attract new visitors to our region through art,” Explore St. Louis President Kathleen Ratcliffe said.

Keeping it clean

America’s Center will employ strict safety protocols for the event, said Mathew Dewey, senior vice president of Explore St. Louis and general manager of the convention center.

“Plenty of social distancing, the masks, everything you would expect to keep everybody safe, we will be implementing,” Dewey said of the precautions.

Capacity will be limited, and visitors will purchase tickets for timed entry. Staff will take visitors’ temperature with thermal scanners, Dewey said, and clean the exhibition hall with electrostatic sprayers. “Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” will also mark most visitors’ first experience with a recently installed, touchless entryway to the building.

“You can almost get through this entire experience, from the entrance to the exit, without touching anything throughout the whole day,” Dewey said.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Jeremy D. Goodwin joined St. Louis Public Radio in spring of 2018 as a reporter covering arts & culture and co-host of the Cut & Paste podcast. He came to us from Boston and the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where he covered the same beat as a full-time freelancer, contributing to The Boston Globe, WBUR 90.9 FM, The New York Times, NPR and lots of places that you probably haven’t heard of.