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Massive New Book Collection Offers Unprecedented Views of the Sistine Chapel

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 25, 2022

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

There are famously no photos allowed when visiting the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. So, this new book series “that includes 1:1 scale images of the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and other Renaissance artists” from the chapel might be your best bet to enjoying this wonder of the art world at home. But here’s the bad news: the 20-pound volume costs $22,000 and has been limited to 1999 copies, no reprints.

Published by Callaway Arts & Entertainment and Italy’s Scripta Maneant, the book uses state-of-the-art color printing to ensure its colors match those used in the Chapel. The close-up detail of each image provides a perspective that cannot be obtained by visiting the Chapel in person. Readers can see the artist’s brush strokes and texture of the paint, as well as the small cracks and imperfections that line the walls and ceiling.

The publishing agreement with the Vatican stipulated that only 1,999 copies could be printed. Six hundred of them are in English. The Italian language copies have already sold out. The deal also stipulates no reprints.

This book looks incredible — two photographers took 270,000 images over 65 nights that were stitched together using 3D software to accurately portray the paintings done on the chapel’s curved surfaces. (via open culture)