Sistine Chapel pollution may lead to fewer visitors

ROME — The head of the Vatican Museums said Thursday (Oct. 17) that pollution levels inside the storied Sistine Chapel … Continued

ROME — The head of the Vatican Museums said Thursday (Oct. 17) that pollution levels inside the storied Sistine Chapel are high enough to damage its priceless frescoes and could lead to a reduction in visitors.

The Vatican is installing a series of new air purifiers and a new air conditioning system inside the chapel that’s the site of papal elections, and the new system should be online by the end of 2014.

If it works, visitor levels can stay as they are. But if the new system can’t control the levels of dust, humidity and carbon dioxide, then director Antonio Paolucci said he’d have to make the “painful decision” to limit visitors.

At stake is the health of Michelangelo’s world-famous fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling — considered by many scholars to be the world’s single greatest painting — and his masterpiece behind the main altar, “The Last Judgment.”

The chapel also houses works from Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Luca Signorelli and other masters. It was last restored in the 1990s, and recent studies show that dust and humidity from the estimated 5.5 million visitors to the chapel each year could threaten the artwork.

During high season, as many as 20,000 people a day pass through the Sistine Chapel, which was again in the headlines earlier this year when it was closed off for the conclave that selected Pope Francis.

The Sistine Chapel is part of the massive Vatican Museums, home to one of the world’s greatest art collections.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

More on:
Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.