Is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel exhibition in Bellevue worth seeing?

Gallery review

It’s Michelangelo. How can you go wrong with Michelangelo?

Apparently, you can.

A display featuring reproductions of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings opened at The Bravern in Bellevue last Friday. While the concept is intriguing, the implementation falls short.

The famous frescoes of Michelangelo Buonarroti, master of the Renaissance, completed in 1512, depict the relationship between humanity and God. The frescoes were literally pasted on the ceiling in Vatican City. Completely immobile. “Sistine Chapel Michelangelo: the exhibition” Brings Sistine Chapel images to a more convenient place for you.

I asked Sylvia Noland, director of business development at SEE Global Entertainment, where the idea for the show came from. She tells me CEO Martin Bialas visited the Sistine Chapel a decade ago, and his experience was less than satisfactory. He stood in line for two hours, got 15 minutes to look at the murals and confiscated his phone because pictures are forbidden.

Pro of the Bravern show: You can take all the time and photos you want.

Con: It’s despicable.

The Sistine Chapel Gallery was created in Former Neiman Marcus Space at The PrairieAdjacent to Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores. But when you step into the gallery, you don’t feel so refined and exclusive. It’s as if someone blew up grainy photos of an iconic artwork. There are foam core sticker panels next to each photo. There are even empty clothes racks hanging around, at least during the gallery preview I went to last Thursday. It really gets away from the atmosphere.

Surprisingly, the 9-foot-high copies stand against the wall, not the ceiling. Yes, you’ll have to lift your neck, but that’s a big part of the Sistine Chapel experience. same exhibition Came through Tacoma in 2018Where the pictures are already hung on the ceiling.

The show says it’s suitable for all ages. FYI, there is a lot of nudity (that’s art) and violence (that’s the Bible). There is an audio guide explaining the Bible story behind each image. You have to download an app and scan a QR code to access it.

I brought a friend with me, Christine Alexander, who went to Italy to see the real deal so she could help me compare it. Here’s how to sum it up: “I ordered a shower curtain from Amazon and it looked like this.”


When I told her tickets cost $20, she actually hit it off.

She said the real Sistine Chapel is a completely different experience.

“I’ve seen so many beautiful things in my life,” she said. “This was nicer. I just remember being incredibly in awe of this masterpiece. All the details. Completely surrounded.

“When I saw the Sistine Chapel, my eyes shed tears, and I’m not even religious. And that”—a nod about the Bravern Gallery—“makes me laugh.”

I haven’t seen the Sistine Chapel in person – someday! But in high school, I had the “Creation of Adam” poster. Like the old poster, when this show is over, the images are folded and packaged. The display is lightweight and designed to collapse easily.

This gallery, with 34 images, has been traveling the world since 2015. Think empty shopping spaces, convention centers, and warehouses.

By the way, this is the same company that works Banksy art exhibition At the Federal Reserve Building in Seattle.

The images of the Sistine Chapel are 80% reproduced, at approximately life size. In theory, this is a chance to study Michelangelo’s magnificent paintings up close, rather than 70 feet above you on the ceiling. But this is Michelangelo we’re talking about. His famous statue of David is deliberately disproportionate because you are supposed to see David from below. These murals are designed to be viewed from a distance.

I’ve also seen a file Seattle Show “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience”It opened last October and is still in operation. I walked in skeptical and left genuinely impressed. For this show, they took something small (the real “Starry Night” is minuscule) and made it bigger, bigger and more exciting. However, this Sistine Chapel display takes an enormous amount of work and reduces it to flimsy copies.

Michelangelo didn’t even want to paint the Sistine Chapel to begin with. He considered himself a sculptor. On the Sistine Chapel contract, he was signed on purpose, “Michaelangelo Sculptor” (Michaelangelo the sculptor). If he sees this tradition now, there is nothing more.

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition”

Tuesday – Sunday (from 10 a.m. to last entry 6 p.m.) until October 30; Shops at The Bravern (in the former Neimen Marcus store), 11111 NE Eighth St. , Suite 100, Bellevue; Tickets start at $21 for adults, $14.70 for children 4-12; Parking is free (bring your own parking ticket from the garage to be validated), wheelchair accessible;

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