Images of some of the world’s most iconic religious artworks will be displayed in Hull Minister later this year.
Church officials expect to welcome thousands of visitors when an exhibition featuring close-up views of Michelangelo’s famous frescoes that adorn the Sistine Chapel in Rome opens in October.
The Minister is only one of two venues in the UK hosting the exhibition as part of a tour of European cities.
Officially licensed by the Vatican Museums and called Michelangelo – A Different View, it will give people the chance to see high-resolution reproductions of the elaborate paintings by the Florentine master from a distance of only two metres.
In contrast, many of the original frescoes on the ceiling of the chapel in the Vatican are 22 metres above visitors’ heads, making it largely impossible to take in all their splendour and detail.
Watch E4Y’s video of Michelangelo – A Different View staged in Amsterdam above.
Bishop Frank White, interim minister of Hull Minster, said: “It’s a very great privilege for Hull Minster to host an exhibition of such celebrated artwork, which can usually only be viewed in Rome.
“It’s also wonderful that a building as ancient as the Minster is able to host an exhibition of paintings which hold a timeless and universal appeal. It represents a coming together of key expressions of Christian faith through art.
“Modern technology has enabled Michelangelo’s centuries-old masterpiece to be effectively transported hundreds of miles to be enjoyed here in Hull and we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people into the Minster for a very special experience.”
The exhibition features high-resolution versions of photographs taken of the frescoes in the 1990s and transferred onto special fabric webs to create highly-detailed panels.
Thomas Ebel, a producer with the German exhibition company E4Y, said: “Our reproductions do more than justice to the original frescoes – not only in their size, but also in their surface texture.
“Visitors to the exhibition are stunned both by the beauty of the works and the almost tangible details.”
Currently showing at three venues in Winchester, the exhibition in the Minster will be the first time it has been shown together inside a church.
Last year the Minister attracted a record-breaking 225,000 visitors, thanks partly to the huge success of the Museum of the Moon exhibition which was staged in conjunction wit the annual British Science Festival and Hull’s Freedom Festival.
Hull Minster events and site manager James Symonds said: “We have been looking for cultural events and exhibitions that will add to our growing arts offering and became aware of this exhibition.
In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned sculptor and painter Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni – known simply as Michelangelo – to paint the huge ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo and his assistants spent four years on scaffolding under the vaulted ceiling creating his astounding Renaissance masterpiece.
Faced by the challenge presented by the chapel’s architecture, he developed unique painting techniques, setting new standards for future generations of artists.
Michelangelo was originally commissioned only to paint the 12 apostles, but persuaded the Pope to let him depict scenes and individuals of his own choosing. Consequently, the chapel is peopled with more than 300 characters from the Bible.
The work was completed in 1512 and has been adored by artists across the world for more than 500 years as well as being admired by four million visitors each year to the Sistine Chapel.
The complex artwork includes the most famous painting of them all – the Creation of Adam, a depiction of God giving life to the first man – which forms part of the new exhibition coming to Hull.
Another major attraction is a spectacular six metres square reproduction of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, which covers the whole of the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.
“We approached the producers and they were really excited by the opportunity to stage the exhibition in a spectacular church setting.
“Michelangelo’s work is, after all, a religious masterpiece and at Hull Minster it will be seen in a church for the first time outside the Sistine Chapel itself.
“This exhibition builds on the legacy of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture and will enhance Hull’s growing reputation as a cultural and visitor destination.”
The exhibition will run from October 8 to November 18.
Admission will be free with visitors being asked to make a donation to the work of the church if they wish.
The exhibition will also be supported by an extensive programme of events and activities with further details expected to be released in the coming months.
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