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Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: A Different View makes its UK premiere in Winchester, England's ancient capital, this summer.

The exhibition will be on show at three venues across the city: City Space and The Gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre and the 13th century Great Hall, home of the symbolic Medieval Round Table. The exhibition comes to Winchester after touring major European cities including Copenhagen and, most recently, Amsterdam.

The magnificent Sistine Chapel in the Vatican takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored the Roman building between 1477 and 1480. Just over a quarter of a century later in 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 – 1564) to paint the chapel’s huge ceiling. Such was the enormity of the task, it took the artist and his assistants four years to complete.

“Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving.” ​​​​

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1787

Faced by the challenges of the structural architecture, he developed outstanding painting techniques, setting new standards for future generations of painters. The resultant frescoes changed the course of Western art and are regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments of human civilization. Michelangelo’s work continues to draw millions of visitors to the Sistine Chapel, 500 years after they were painted, although few have had the privilege of being able to marvel close up at his incredible figures of saints, sibyls, prophets and the ceiling’s centrepiece, The Creation of Adam.

That is set to change with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: A Different View. Officially licensed by the Vatican Museums, the exhibition will allow unprecedented closeness to the magnificent works which adorn the chapel ceiling, normally 22 metres above visitors’ heads. Working in partnership with the Vatican Museums, the frescoes have been photographed, reproduced at high resolution and transferred onto special fabric webs to create highly detailed display panels. This technique allows a true-to-life reproduction of the ceiling and gives visitors a unique opportunity for an otherwise impossible close-up view of his brushwork.

The panels on display vividly reveal how Michelangelo used bright colours for the Sistine Chapel to make the figures more easily visible from the floor. He was originally commissioned only to paint the twelve apostles, but persuaded the Pope to let him paint scenes and individuals of his own choosing. Consequently, the chapel is peopled with over 300 characters from the Bible. By separating the frescoes into a series of panels, the exhibition allows art lovers to closely study particular aspects of Michelangelo’s work.

The exhibition is split across the three Winchester venues due to its sheer size: the visitor journey begins at City Space on the ground floor of Winchester Discovery Centre, continues upstairs in The Gallery and finishes at The Great Hall, where a giant 6 metre x 6 metre panel of The Last Judgement, painted 25 years after the ceiling, will be on display.

Admission Prices

  • Book online: £5.00 
  • Buy at City Space: £6.00
  • 16s and under: free. Please book tickets to allow entry to the exhibition

Tickets allow entry to the exhibition at City Space, The Gallery and The Great Hall. Tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged.

Your Exhibition Experience

Your exhibition experience starts at Winchester Discovery Centre. On arrival, please proceed to City Space on the ground floor to redeem your ticket. The second part of the exhibition is in The Gallery on the first floor of Winchester Discovery Centre.

After viewing The Gallery display, the final part of the exhibition, the magnificent 6 metre x 6 metre panel depicting The Last Judgement is a short walk away at The Great Hall. Please note that the Great Hall operates different opening times to Winchester Discovery Centre: once redeemed at City Space, your ticket is valid for seven days for entry to the Great Hall.

Opening Times

City Space and The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre

Monday - Friday: 10:00am - 7:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am - 3:00pm

The Great Hall

10:00am - 5:00pm daily (last entry 4:30pm)

Please note: Winchester Discovery Centre will be closed for the bank holiday on Monday 26 August and on 6 September 2019, 9am - 12 noon.

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