Saturday, March 27, 2010

Virtual reality tour gives online users a private view of the Sistine Chapel

With  just one mouse click, you can see one of the world’s most famous chapels.

The Sistine Chapel has more than 4 million visitors each year and once inside, it can get crowded and noisy.

But now anyone with access to the internet can visit the pope's chapel and view the artwork on the ceiling and walls without any distraction.

About a dozen students and faculty from Villanova University teamed up with the Vatican to create this virtual reality tour for the Vatican website. They took several thousand digital photographs of the Sistine Chapel over the past two years. They also spent five nights enclosed in the chapel for six hours at a time.

The result, a private view of the chapel, which depicts 9 stories of Genesis and houses famous Michelangelo frescoes, such as The Last Judgment.

The Sistine Chapel was built in 1473 and is the the site of papal elections. Neither photographs nor video are allowed inside. So this ability to zoom in and out and to pay as much attention to detail as you want, is a great addition to the web.

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