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Detail of The Last Judgment, showing Michelangelo’s self-portrait as the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew
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DIGITAL DESACRALIZATION
by Ben Davis



The Vatican has put the Sistine Chapel online. It is a nifty experience, a 360-degree, zoomable simulacra of the legendary chamber, with its assorted frescos, some of the most famous religious artworks in history. You can, thanks to the Vatican’s technical wizardry, "stand" at the center of the chamber, look straight up, and zoom into Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Since you experience the images alone, in front of your computer, instead of surrounded by throngs of pushy tourists, the virtual experience may even be superior to actually being there.

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