Fucking Awesome: Let’s Get Physical with the Sistine Chapel

Ok, THIS might be the coolest thing Evar. You can take a 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel online thanks to project by the Vatican.

By adjusting the view you can look at the floor, walls and ceiling. It’s easy to zoom in or out on pieces, even if the resolution isn’t as awesome as I want it to be. The only thing that could make this project better is if you could turn on hovers that identified the characters, pieces, or historical facts about different parts of the murals. I basically want the Sistine Chapel: Pop Up Video edition.

The virtual tour was designed by a team of students and faculty fromVillanova University’s communications and computer science department on behalf of the Vatican Museum. They’ve been working on the project for 2 years, photographing every inch of the chapel. This is the most access any outside group has ever been granted.

“This is one of the most innovative explorations of a work of art to date,” said Paul Wilson, a faculty member in Villanova’s Communication Department and one of the leaders of the virtual tour project. “It will change forever the way artists and historians can view the amazing work and mind of Michelangelo – his attention to detail, social commentary and sense of humor.”

Several thousand digital photographs were taken with an advanced motorized camera rig and then digitally stitched together, color-corrected, and post-processed by Villanova team members to create a cubic panorama file that presents the Chapel in a three-dimensional projection. Tour visitors can zoom in for high-resolution views of the interior of the Chapel. The tour can be viewed over Internet connections with a variety of bandwidths.

The Villanova team have already created virtual tours for the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls (my favorite church when I was a girl because of the glorious gold facade and the cloister) and the Basilica of St. John in Lateran. They just finished the internal work on St. Peter’s Basilica, with the tour scheduled to go online as early as this summer.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on March 29, 2010.

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