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Tourist traffic damaging Sistine Chapel, director reports

Catholic World News - September 03, 2010

The 4.5 million people who visit the Sistine Chapel every year are gradually causing damage to Michelangelo’s works, the director of the Vatican Museums has warned.

"Humans breathe and perspire, and the dust and humidity endanger the frescoes," Antonio Paolucci told the Agence France Presse news service. However, he rejected any notion of limiting access to the chapel. Nor is it likely that the Sistine Chapel would be closed for a period of time for a through restoration, Paolucci said.

Instead, the museum director said that caretakers must apply themselves to the task of preserving the frescoes with “no less creativity and intelligence than that used by the artists who created it.”

Noting that modern technology offers many means of addressing the problem, Paolucci expressed confidence that a proper solution would be found. For the sake of preserving the Sistine Chapel, he said, expense is not a factor: “The money, we will find it.”

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