Mall shoppers will be able to experience one of the world’s greatest artistic achievements: Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes that decorate the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome.
And they need not dust off their passports or even crane their necks upward to see the Italian Renaissance masterpiece.
They just need to, you know, go to the mall.
“Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel,” part of Westfield Global Entertainment’s mall tour opening Friday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 31 at the Canoga Park-based shopping center Westfield Topanga, is an immersive pop-up gallery that features 34 nearly life-size replicas of the famed frescoes at eye level.
“Michelangelo was the only person who got to see the work that close-up,” says Scott Sanders, Westfield’s Creative Head of Global Entertainment, who takes credit for the idea
After a successful opening at Westfield World Trade Center in the Oculus, it now travels to other cities in the U.S., culminating at the Westfield UTC in San Diego from Aug. 9 through Sept. 23.
The pop-up gallery allows people to come face to face with renowned scenes like the Creation of Adam or the Last Judgment, works that Michelangelo painted between 1508 and 1512.
Reproduced in large-scale photographs by Erich Lessing, the dimensional paintings reveal details that visitors to the actual Sistine Chapel normally miss, from stapled together cracks in the ceiling to portraits of the artist’s friends among the figures.
“When you go to the Sistine Chapel you’re whisked through it,” Sanders says. “You’re not allowed to take photography or stand and contemplate the work.