MEXICO CITY — Nearly 1 million visitors have viewed the replica of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel since it opened June 8 in Mexico City. More than 2 million photographs were used to create the life-sized replica, the head of the project said.
Gabriel Berumen told reporters that the idea originated when he and his brother Antonio took a group from the southern state of Oaxaca to visit the Vatican and one of the artisans was so moved by the art that she fell to the ground and began weeping.
It was then that the Berumen brothers decided to build a replica in Mexico to share the experience with more people, Gabriel said.
The replica, located beside the Monument of the Revolution in the heart of Mexico City, consists of a three-dimensional structure with giant photographic reproductions of the chapel’s interior.
The Mexican version of the Sistine Chapel has a height of 22 meters (72 feet), a length of 67 meters (187 feet) and a width of 28 meters (92 feet), occupying a total of 510 sq. meters (5,480 sq. feet).
The installation makes use of aromas, sound and illumination to guide visitors through the storyline of the artworks, from Genesis to the Last Judgment.
Creating the replica involved photographing the 500-year-old frescoes. The process, which took more than 2 1/2 years, relied on the efforts of 80 artists and 70 skilled tradespeople, including woodworkers and ironsmiths.
“Mexico has the technology, the materials and the artists to build this great replica of the chapel,” Gabriel Berumen said.
“Everything is exactly similar” to the Renaissance chapel in Rome, he said.
The Sistine replica will remain in the capital until Aug. 31, when it will begin a national tour.
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