Lighting up Creation and Last Judgment: Sistine Chapel gets new illumination next month

The Sistine Chapel is getting a 21st-century lighting upgrade with a new LED system. Starting next month, the illumination package will make the 500-year-old masterpiece frescos more visible to Vatican Museum visitors. But you don’t need to travel to Rome to get a good look at the Chapel’s art because a couple of apps out there offer a virtual tour in stunning detail for you to enjoy at home. As a visitor in the Sistine Chapel, you can only view Michelangelo’s famous ceiling (Creation) and back wall (Last Judgment)  from your vantage point waaaaay down on the floor level. And you may not take photographs to enjoy at home. With an app version you get to view the art from any perspective you choose because you’re working in 3-D panoramic mode. Zoom and pan every square inch of this glorious space to your heart’s content. Enjoy!

Sistine Chapel app

Reuters photo illustrating the illumination of the Sistine Chapel before and after installation of new lighting system.

Sistine Chapel 3D Interactive Virtual Tour-Vatican City in Rome (Initial limited download is Free; $4.99 full version) iOS only (including iPhone 4 and later and iPad). Bring the space housing the Papal Conclave and Michelangelo’s famous ceiling and Last Judgment right into your home. You can browse and zoom images in a 3-D panoramic setting on your own OR let the narration guide you. Fascinating detail you can see and hear all about. From developers:

– Fully narrated with subtitles
– Explore and navigate anywhere at the ‘Sistine Chapel’ or kick back and let our autopilot guide
– Share – Take snapshots and share with friends by Email and on Facebook

Vatican Sistine Chapel Rome– (Initial limited download is Free; paid full version) Android only. This is a multi-media guided tour. From developers:
-Over 35 minutes of content rich audio presentation, includes hi-res photo’s and diagrams.
-Ceiling of creation and the Last Judgement.
-Once loaded no need for access to WiFi or Internet.
-written by experienced tour-guides
-Spoken by native English speaker

You can also enjoy a 3-D panoramic experience of the Sistine Chapel on line at the Vatican web site. It is truly a lovely experience when you view it on a large display. No audio tour features, but you do get some appropriate music in the background. Guess which choir?

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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother who worked for more than 30 years in marketing/communications which included 20 years in radio broadcasting including news director. She holds degrees in Journalism/Communication (BA) and English (MA) from St. Bonaventure University. In 2016 she authored the Vatican application for minor basilica status for The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, New York. Pope Francis granted that title in 2017. Research on the basilica formed the basis of her history book, A Place Set Apart. She previously authored the book, A Worthy and Capable Clergyman, the second part of the history book in a slightly different format. She is founder and editor of the website,, the #1 English language website cataloging/reviewing Catholic apps for mobile devices.

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