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Sistine Chapel frescoes are safe for 500 anniversary, museum director assures

October 30, 2012

Michelangelo’s famous frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are not being damaged by tourist traffic, the director of the Vatican Museums has assured readers of L’Osservatore Romano.

In an interview with the Vatican newspaper, Antonio Paolucci said that “advanced technological provisions” have been made to remove dirt and dust and to regulate temperature and humidity in the Sistine Chapel, in order to preserve the artwork.

A prominent Italian art critic, Pietro Citati, had suggested that the enormous traffic of tourists through the Sistine Chapel was endangering Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Roughly 5 million visitors view the chapel every year.

Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo’s work, celebrated its completion by celebrating Vespers in the Sistine Chapel on October 31, 1512. Pope Benedict XVI will mark the 500th anniversary of that date when he, too, celebrates Vespers in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, October 31.


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