October 31 marks two important anniversaries for the Sistine Chapel in Rome. On this day in 1512, Pope Julius II dedicated the ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo over four years that show scenes from Genesis, as well as Prophets, Sibyls, and ancestors of Jesus. Twenty-nine years later, Pope Paul III dedicated the altar wall fresco, also painted by Michelangelo, showing the Last Judgment. Learn more.

Today also marks the anniversary of the rededication of the chapel by Pope John Paul II in honor of the chapel’s restoration, a multi-year project to clean dust, grime, and varnish from Michelangelo’s frescoes that concluded in 1994. In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the restoration, and coinciding with the 450th anniversary year of Michelangelo’s death, the Vatican will sponsor a two-day conference on the impact of the conservation as well as unveil new lighting and climate-control systems. The Vatican will also impose a daily limit of 20,000 visitors to the chapel to further protect it from deterioration.

Sistine Chapel, built 1480-3 with additional decorations by Michelangelo Buonarrotti in 1508-12 and 1536-41, Rome

Press Conference 28 October 2014 to unveil new lighting and climate control systems, Sistine Chapel, Rome

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