MEXICO CITY – Renaissance art lovers in Mexico won't need to travel to Vatican City to see the glories of the Sistine Chapel.
A private art project has created a temporary replica of the chapel in Mexico's art deco Monument to the Revolution.
People were lined up on Thursday to see the replica, which is open free to the public through June 30.
"I got the idea two years ago with my brother, inside the Sistine Chapel," said Gabriel Berumen, creative director and producer of the replica. "When we walked inside and saw its beauty we said 'Can we replicate this? Of course we can, in Mexico', that's when the dream began."
The Vatican-approved Mexican replica was created using more than 2.7 million photographs printed on cloth and hung from a metal framework. The replica not only includes the frescos of Michelangelo, but sculptures and decorations also adorn the life-size model.
Pope Julius II who was pontiff from 1503 to 1513, hired Michelangelo to paint the ceiling, which was completed in 1512. The nine central panels illustrate the episodes of Genesis, from the creation of man to the fall, the flood and the resurgence of humanity with the family of Noah.
"Particularly in Mexico I think this benefits a lot of people; it's something marvelous that a lot of people don't have access to. People who can't travel to Rome can witness the replica; it's a blessing," said Alberto Salvador, exhibit assistant.
It once would have been considered a political miracle as well. Among the Mexican heroes entombed beneath the simulated chapel is Plutarco Elias Calles, the president who led a ferocious crackdown on the church in the 1920s that resulted in open warfare. Tight restrictions on the Catholic church remained in place for more than half a century.