Michaelangelo in Tejas

Once-in-a-lifetime Texas exhibit offers rare glimpse inside the Sistine Chapel

Once-in-a-lifetime Texas show offers glimpse inside Sistine Chapel

Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition
Giant photographic reproductions grace the walls.  Courtesy photo
Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition
The stunning exhibit offers an up-close glimpse of iconic art.  Courtesy photo
Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition
After Houston, the show next travels to China on a worldwide tour.  Courtesy photo
Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition
Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition
Houston Sistine Chapel exhibition

There are few tourist attractions in the world as compelling and in-demand as Michelangelo’s iconic artwork in The Vatican. According to a recent report, more than 25,000 visitors flock to the Roman chapel daily to stare in awe at the frescoes that decorate the interior — most notably, the mind-blowing ceiling that was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.

Yes, it is an experience being in the Sistine Chapel. (A year ago, a New Yorker article declared it can be too much of an experience, with shouting guards moving crowds along for “a fifteen-minute neck-craning exercise in mostly futile inspection.”) However, if you’ve ever wanted to visit the chapel, but didn’t have the means to go to Italy, the chapel’s most striking, immortal visions are now on full view in Houston.

Starting on June 8, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” will be unveiled for a two-month run at event space The Corinthian. Needless to say, the artwork won’t be the genuine article. Expect full-sized, photographed replicas of the artist’s vault frescoes, along with his 40-foot-high The Last Judgment, from the altar wall.

The works have been on display around the country and all over the world. Last June, it was in New York City at the Westfield World Trade Center, and two years ago, it had a fall run at The Women’s Museum in Dallas. (After the Houston exhibit wraps up on July 31, it will run in Hangzhou, China.)

This exhibit is certain to hip many art neophytes to Italy’s High Renaissance period, as well as one of its most major players. But, more importantly, it will also give people the chance to take their time and view these pieces up close, to catch every nook and cranny of the imagery, the style, the intensity and, of course, the artistry enclosed in these paintings. You won’t need to be quiet, stick with your crowd, or risk a sore neck in order to take in these beauties.

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” may not be the real thing, but it’s as close to the real thing as stateside people will get. Consider this your chance to take in a piece of art history without angry guards barking orders at you, in air-conditioned serenity. 

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Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel runs June 8 through July 31 at The Corinthian Houston. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and military, and $10 for students under 21. For more information, visit the official site

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